Colin Smyth MSP
South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has said that the rise of three day emergency food parcels in Dumfries and Galloway 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 1,570 three day emergency food supplies were delivered by the foodbank within Dumfries and Galloway. This was an increase from 1,092 for the same period last year. Of the 1,570 three day emergency food supplies delivered. delivered, 1,266 were to adults and 304 supplies were delivered for children. This was an increase from the same period last year of 360 and 118 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 in Dumfries and Galloway 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 Dumfries and Galloway 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 there will be a sharp increase in demand for three day emergency food supplies in Dumfries and Galloway.
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 Dumfries and Galloway.”