Need for foodbanks “appalling”

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Angus MSP Nigel Don has praised the work of foodbanks in Scotland but has hit out at the need for them as “appalling”.

His comments came after the “worrying rise” in the need for foodbanks was highlighted in a recent debate in the Scottish Parliament, in which he took part.

More than 14,000 people in Scotland were supplied with three days’ worth of emergency food by foodbanks, organised by the Trussell Trust, over the past year - more than twice the number for the previous year.

Mr Don said the biggest reason for people needing to turn to food banks has been because of delays in welfare payments or the reduction in the amount payable. He also said that “disturbingly” many of those affected are actually in work.

The Trussell Trust pioneered the idea of a UK network of foodbanks and operates a network of more than 200 across the UK in partnership with local churches and voluntary organisations.

Nationally it has so far helped almost 350,000 people and while it has seen a 76 per cent increase in the number of foodbanks launched since April 2012, it has also also seen a 170 per cent increase in the number of people given emergency food.

The Angus Foodbank, based in Kirriemuir, was adopted and set up by Strathmore Christian Fellowship in 2012 to help feed Angus people facing crisis and works with volunteers from other Angus churches.

Mr Don said: “The fact that we have folk simply too poor to feed themselves is appalling in 21st century Scotland. And the actions of the Westminster Government in reducing the income of our poorest citizens is in large measure to blame.

“I have visited the foodbank in Brechin and seen for myself the good work they are doing. I want to thank them and all those who so generously contribute supplies. Sadly I see no prospect of things getting any better any time soon.

“You can tell how interested the Tories and Lib Dems are by the fact that they did not even turn up for the debate in Holyrood.

“The only chance of getting a better distribution of our nation’s wealth across our society will come from taking control of our own tax and welfare system.”