Scotland

Food bank use increases by 13%, says Trussell Trust

Food parcel Image copyright Getty Images

The number of three-day emergency food parcels handed out by The Trussell Trust in Scotland increased by more than 13% in the last year.

The charity said it issued more than 130,000 supplies of nutritionally-balanced food in 2015/16, up from 117,689 in the previous year.

Its new statistics suggest that food bank growth has slowed, however.

Last year the charity reported that food bank use had increased by two thirds on the previous 12 months.

The Trussell Trust said each of its emergency parcels contained enough food for 10 meals.

Everyone who received a food parcel was referred to the food bank by professionals such as a welfare rights adviser, a social worker or a health visitor.

Of the 113,726 handed out across Scotland last year, 43,952 went to children.

The charity said that it had evidence to suggest that, on average, people needed two food bank referrals in one year.

Its network of food banks increased to 51 last year with the controversial opening of a new facility in Dumfries by Scotland's only Conservative MP David Mundell.

Ewan Gurr, Scotland network manager for The Trussell Trust, said the figures highlighted an "alarming" number of people who were unable to buy food.

The charity's data showed that the number of referrals due to a low income increased by 2,845 on 2014/15.

However it said benefits delays were the main reason people turned to food banks - they made up a total of 26% of all referrals in Scotland.

Mr Gurr added: "In Scotland, we have heard from people using food banks due to the heart-breaking reality of losing a job in the oil and steel industries, others feeling a sense of despair after delays to a Universal Credit payment and some who have experienced sanctions that have impacted on their physical and mental wellbeing."

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