Food bank use surges as more Scots rely on service 'week by week'

Volunteers say people of all ages 'who have never needed help in their lives' are coming through their doors.

Food bank use is on the rise across Scotland as charities warn more people are relying on them week by week.

Figures from the Trussell Trust, who run a network of food banks in Scotland, say they handed out more than 250,000 food parcels – a new record high.

Michael Calder, who works for the charity said the issue has been worsening for some time.

He told STV News: “The pandemic and the cost of living crisis have exacerbated and exposed the problems of food poverty.

“But they’re not the main drivers because we’ve been seen it going progressively up over the past decade, it’s indicative of a broken system.”

Dundee and Angus Foodbank helped more than 18,000 people in its community last year.

Food bank manager Ken Linton said: “We’re seeing more and more single people coming in and particularly pensioners which is incredibly worrying.”

People who have 'never needed help in their lives' have been coming to the charity's food banksGetty Images

Meanwhile in Aberdeen, a food bank who originally set up for a three-month trial said its numbers have trebled and that an increasing number of international students need their help.

Paul O’Connor, who works at Inchgarth Community Centre Foodbank, said: “We’re seeing people who’ve never needed help in their lives.

“As a food bank we need more resources and donations but I think more investment is also needed at a community level too for housing and education.”

The Trussell Trust wants to see Universal Credit payments go up by at least £35 a week so people no longer have to rely on food banks.

The Department for Work and Pensions said it’s increased payments and is providing record levels of support for families.

A spokesperson said: “We are committed to eradicating poverty and we recognise the pressures of the rising cost of living which is why we have uprated benefits by 10.1% as well as making an unprecedented increase to the National Living Wage this month.

“This is on top of changes already made to Universal Credit which mean claimants can keep more of their hard-earned money – a boost worth £1,000 a year on average.

“We are also providing record levels of direct financial support for the most vulnerable – £1,200 last year and a further £1,350 in 2023/24, with over eight million families starting to receive their first £301 Cost of Living instalment from yesterday – while the Household Support Fund is helping people with essential costs.”

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