The total number of individuals and families using food banks at the end of the last four financial years has increased by more than 100% each time. 61,468 men, women and children used a Trussell Trust food bank in 2010/11, 128,697 people in 11/12 and 346,992 in 2012/13.
In 2013/14, 26 Scottish food banks opened their doors and provided food to 71,428 men, women and children – a 400% increase and five times the number compared to the previous financial year.
The three main problems that led people to Scottish food banks in 2013/14 were benefit delays, low income and benefit changes. Benefit delays accounted for 28% of referrals, low pay was responsible for 19% and 19% were due to benefit changes. Many of those who were referred due to low income were found to be in work and the vast majority of benefit changes were related to benefit sanctions.
Peter Kelly, Director of The Poverty Alliance said:
“It is extremely concerning to see yet another dramatic rise in the number of people relying on food banks to feed themselves and their families.
“Low wages and a punitive sanctions regime are forcing people into destitution.
“It is unacceptable that in 21st century Scotland that people are struggling to feed themselves.
“We welcome the recent Scottish Government announcement of £1m to support food banks but it is important that we tackle the underlying causes of poverty and move away from straight mitigation.
“Both the UK and Scottish Governments need to take action now to ensure that we don’t see another increase like this next year”.
For more information contact Carla McCormack, Policy and Parliamentary Officer, on 07853860893 or email firstname.lastname@example.org