Scotland’s Foodbanks Report Unprecedented Demand

April 15, 2016

Foodbanks across Scotland have never been in greater demand than during the 12 months to the end of March this year, according to the latest figures on the subject.

Much of the demand is apparently being driven by issues associated with delays to state benefit payments in areas across the country.

According to the Trussell Trust, a charity group that operates dozens of foodbanks throughout the UK, there were in excess of 133,000 referrals to its services in Scotland in the year up to the end of March.

In all, there are now 51 foodbanks being run by the trust in Scotland, with referrals up 13 per cent year-on-year despite only one new foodbank facility being opened in the most recently assessed 12-month period.

The data suggests that the sharpest rise in foodbank reliance was seen in North Lanarkshire last year, with the number of people using these services in the area increasing by as much as 121 per cent in the year following March 2015.

Benefit-related difficulties are understood to be behind a majority of referrals to foodbanks across Scotland, with benefit delays accounting for 27 per cent of all referrals in the 12 months for which the latest statistics have been collected.

However, having to live on a low income is now being cited more commonly as a reason for foodbank use and in 22 per cent of cases across Scotland.

Families and individuals living in Scotland were found to have a disproportionate reliance on the services of foodbanks as compared with the UK as a whole.

The Trussell Trust’s network manager for Scotland Ewan Gurr said in a statement: “In Scotland, we have heard from people using foodbanks due to the heart-breaking reality of losing a job in the oil and steel industries, others feeling a sense of despair after delays to a Universal Credit payment and some who have experienced sanctions that have impacted on their physical and mental wellbeing.

“We encourage our policy makers to listen to those using foodbanks and learn from their experiences.”

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