Food Banks in Scotland ‘Being Used More Often Than Ever’

November 18, 2015

People living in Scotland are being referred to food banks more frequently than ever before, according to the latest figures on the subject.

Food banks aim to provide three days’ worth of emergency food supplies to people who cannot afford to buy their own for any reason and there were reportedly tens of thousands of Scots in that position between April and September of this year.

The Trussell Trust, a charity group that offers food bank services throughout the UK, has compiled figures on their use and highlighted a notable rise in referrals in Scotland, as well as across England and Wales.

In Scotland, there were over 60,000 food bank referrals recorded between April and September, which represents a 17 per cent increase on the same period in 2014.

On average, each Scot referred to a food bank used the service to access emergency food supplies 1.7 times in the six months, which suggests that roughly 35,000 people in Scotland used a food bank during the half-year period.

According to the Trussell Trust, across the UK as a whole, there were more than half a million three-day emergency food packages distributed by food banks in the six months from April.

Ewan Gurr, the food bank charity group’s network manager in Scotland, highlighted some of the concerns he has about issues currently affecting the finances of individuals and families around the country.

“Difficulties related to welfare benefits are still driving the majority of people to our Scottish food banks but now one in five of those referred is on a low income,” he said.

“Among that number is a growing body of people in low paid employment who are simply unable to make the pay cheque stretch far enough when crisis hits.

“The increasing instability of the oil, gas and steel industries has already led to significant numbers of people being made redundant and figures revealed in the last week also show that unemployment has risen in Scotland while decreasing in the rest of the UK.”

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