The growing need for foodbanks in Dumfries and Galloway has been labelled a “scandal” by South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth.
The comments were made after a new report published today (Thursday 9 January) by Oxfam Scotland, Nourish Scotland, the Poverty Alliance and the Child Poverty Action Group. The report revealed that a further 12,963 food parcels were distributed by independent food banks in Dumfries and Galloway from April 2018 to September 2019. This is up by 8% on the same period the previous year.
The figures are in addition to food parcels distributed by the largest distributor, the Trussell Trust who revealed recently that they distributed 210,605 emergency food parcels to people in need across Scotland in 2018/19, including 3,427 in Dumfries and Galloway, with 720 distributed to children in the region.
Commenting on the report Colin Smyth said, “It is nothing short of a scandal that demand for foodbanks continues to rise year after year as poverty increases in our region. Those across our communities that provide foodbanks deserve our appreciation because they provide a real lifeline for so many. But in 2020 they should not be needed. The fact they are required because so many children in Dumfries and Galloway still face going to bed hungry at night should shame the UK and Scottish Governments into urgent action”.
“Many of those who have to turn to foodbanks are actually in employment, but struggle to get by because of the scourge of low pay. It is clear that the UK Government’s welfare reform and in particular the grossly unfair Universal Credit is fuelling the rise in the number of food parcels required”.
“However, there is also more the Scottish Government can do to make sure every person has access to affordable housing, a real living wage and a stable jobs market that means it pays to work so they don’t have to rely on foodbanks. ”