The use of food banks across Scotland increased by almost 50 per cent during April of this year as the COVID-19 crisis took its toll on the country.
Compared with the same period of 2019, there was a 47 per cent rise in the number of people being fed via food banks in April, according to the Trussell Trust, a leading food bank charity.
The Trussell Trust’s latest figures also show that its facilities fed 62 per cent more children in Scotland during April 2020 as compared to the same point last year.
Huge numbers of people are known to have seen their incomes suffer badly because of coronavirus and the associated lockdown, with a great many Scottish households now clearly struggling to put food on the table.
Anti-poverty campaigners have described the latest figures for food bank referrals as “horrifying” and called for governments in Edinburgh and London to take decisive action to tackle food insecurity.
“These new stats are horrifying and must act as a wake-up call to government at every level,” said John Dickie, the director of the Child Poverty Action Group.
“No child should have to rely on charity food parcels yet thousands now are. These are families, in and out of work, that urgently need financial support to prevent the crisis that forces them to the food bank.”
Across the UK, the Trussell Trust has reported an 89 per cent increase in demand for its services and a 107 per cent rise in demand for food parcels for children.
A series of measures have been introduced by the UK government to support employment and incomes across the country during the coronavirus crisis but the situation is nonetheless having a major impact on the numbers of people who find themselves facing food insecurity.
The Trussell Trust has called for changes to welfare and benefit systems so that more people are able to avoid resorting to food banks.
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More than a third of workers in Scotland are fearful that they might lose their jobs at some point over the next 12 months.
Large numbers of households across Scotland could be facing serious financial problems once the option to defer their bills or their debt repayments ceases to be available.
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