South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has said that the rise of three day emergency food parcels in South Ayrshire demonstrates the damage being done by the UK Government’s introduction of Universal Credit.
Figures released by the Trussell Trust Foodbank show that between the 1st of April and 30th of September this year 3,030 three day emergency food supplies were delivered by the foodbank within South Ayrshire. This was an increase from 2,125 for the same period last year. Of the 3,030 three day emergency food supplies delivered, 2,208 were to adults and 822 supplies were delivered for children. This was an increase from the same period last year of 653 and 252 respectively.
The Trussell Trust has said that the rise in foodbank use, which is mirrored nationally, will not reduce until changes are made until Universal Credit. The charity is calling for the five week minimum wait until first Universal Credit payment to be reduced to prevent a sharp increase in demand for three day emergency food supplies.
Colin Smyth MSP said, “The 43% rise in three day emergency food parcels being delivered by the Trussell Trust across South Ayrshire in a single year shows the human impact of the UK Government’s Universal Credit. It is appalling that the Conservatives Government have ignored calls from charities to pause and fix Universal Credit to ensure that no claimant is pushed into poverty and financially worse off. These figures show that they were wrong to ignore those calls.
Behind these figures are families across South Ayrshire struggling to make ends meet because of Tory austerity, many of whom will be some of the most vulnerable people living in our region. The Trussell Trust have made it clear that unless the five week minimum wait for a first payment of Universal Credit is reduced and extra resources are put into welfare, over and above those announced in the UK Government Budget there will be a sharp increase in demand for three day emergency food supplies in South Ayrshire.
The UK Conservative Government must take immediate action to ensure our most vulnerable people are protected this winter. We need to pause and fix Universal Credit to ensure that no claimant is financially worse off as a result of the changes. The Conservatives could do that now and make a real difference to people living in South Ayrshire.”