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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

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Foodbank funding welcomed, but more must be done to fight poverty

This news post is almost 10 years old

Poverty Alliance welcomes Scottish Government cash for foodbanks, but says they shouldn't exist at all in 21st century Scotland

Cash has been pledged to 26 projects across Scotland in a bid to tackle the scourge of food poverty.

The Scottish Government said the cash was necessary as figures showed that foodbank use by desperate Scots soared by 400% in a year.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced funding of £518,000 to deliver help in 17 local authority areas.

It is part of a £1 million investment in food aid, with £500,000 already committed to charity FareShare, which distributes surplus food from retailers to charities supporting their local communities.

The Poverty Alliance welcomed the pledge, but added that there should be no need for foodbanks in 21st century Scotland and that the underlying causes of food poverty must be addressed.

We cannot ignore the effects of welfare reform and figures published by the Trussell Trust showed that benefit delays and sanctions are pushing people into destitution

A recent report by the Trussell Trust showed that the main reasons people used foodbanks were low income and benefit delays and changes.

Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly said: “We welcome the announcement of funding for 26 emergency food providers across Scotland.

This is an impressive mix of organisations all carrying out vital work in the fight against food poverty.

However, we need to look at the reasons why people are struggling to feed themselves and their families.

We cannot ignore the effects of welfare reform and figures published by the Trussell Trust showed that benefit delays and sanctions are pushing people into destitution.

“Alongside this, we have seen rapid growth in in-work poverty levels.

“It is clear that the current social security system is not working.

“Both governments need to re-think how we support people so that no one is left without enough money to provide food for their family in 21st century Scotland”.

Ms Sturgeon made the announcement during a visit to Greater Maryhill Foodbank in Glasgow, which is to receive almost £40,000. She put the blame for foodbank use firmly on the shoulders of Westminster and its welfare changes.

She said: “The amount of people experiencing food poverty in Scotland is simply not acceptable. Worryingly the Trussell Trust has seen a 400 per cent increase in people using food banks between April 2013 and March 2014 which includes more than 22,000 children using these services.

“Welfare reform, benefit delays, benefit sanctions and falling incomes are all having a detrimental impact on the people of Scotland.

“Most people recognise that the increase in foodbank use is directly linked to welfare reform and benefit cuts and this fund is another example of what we are doing to mitigate the harmful effects of Westminster’s welfare cuts. However, the impact is still being felt by the most vulnerable in our society.

“One million people in Scotland are now living in relative poverty after housing costs, including more than 200,000 children.

“What is even more worrying is that 70 per cent of the welfare cuts are still to come – Scotland will see its welfare budget reduced by over £6 billion by 2015/16. And some estimates suggest that up to 100,000 more children could be living in poverty by 2020 if we continue with Westminster policies.

“It is vital that we gain the full powers of independence in order to build a better Scotland – one that protects people from poverty and helps them fulfil their potential in work and life.”