This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for core features such as voting on polls and comments. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.




The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Scotland’s shame as foodbanks expect busiest Christmas ever

This news post is over 6 years old
 

Fears Scots are sleepwalking into accepting food poverty

Fears this Christmas will be the busiest ever for Scotland’s network of foodbanks should shame us all, according to leading anti-poverty campaigners.

The Trussell Trust, which is responsible for approximately half of the foodbanks in Scotland, has indicated it is preparing to serve more people than ever before.

But Martin Johnstone, secretary of the Church & Society Council who is also chair of an independent Food Poverty Working Group, said that more needed to be done to help the needy.

At some point we need to be addressing the root causes of the ever escalating numbers - Martin Johnstone

“What we have are more and more people without enough money to live on. At some point, and quickly, we need to be addressing the root causes of the ever escalating numbers of people being forced into food poverty,” he said.

“Failings in the benefits system, job sanctions, cuts to people’s benefits and low pay work are the main things which are causing hunger in Scotland. These are the things which need to be addressed.

“As a society we have to stop believing that foodbanks will solve the problem of food poverty. They are important in stopping individuals and families going hungry this Christmas, but they cannot solve the problem we face.”

A total of 14,159 people – including 5,093 children – were sent by social services or other agencies to the Trussell Trust in December last year – up from 9,263 in December 2013, while more than 17,000 people are expected to be referred to its food banks throughout Scotland this month.

Across local authority areas the trust reported the need for its services had increased by 53 per cent over the last 12 months, with demand in one area up a massive 444 per cent.

Low wages, benefit delays, changes and sanctions were the main reasons why people were forced to turn to foodbanks, the trust said.

Hundreds of churches in every part of Scotland are collecting every week for their local foodbank and helping to run them.

“The ongoing generosity of people is remarkable but not surprising,“ said Sally Foster-Fulton, convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church & Society Council.

”Christmas is a time for giving but the people of Scotland give generously every day. At the same time, we need to recognise that the current growth in food poverty is avoidable and has to be addressed at root cause.”

As well as supporting local foodbanks, the Church of Scotland has consistently called for a more strategic response to food poverty in Scotland.

In February, in partnership with the Centre for Human Ecology and Faith in Community Scotland, it hosted a Beyond Foodbanks conference attended by over 200 people from across Scotland.

Experts from Canada warned of the dangers that foodbanks will become the norm – as they have there over the last 25 years – and the need to address the underlying issues relating to food poverty in a wealthy country.

TFN recently revealed that the problem of hunger in the UK is much worse than previously thought - and a series of pilot projects are to start next yearin Ibrox and Irvine where schools will open at weekends and holidays to feed poor families.

 

Comments

0 0
Helena
over 6 years ago
This is Westminsters shame, it they who are responsible for austerity, ie unnessary cuts to the poorest. Scotland has been kept poor by westminster for more than 300 years, it will take more than a few years for the Scotgov, ie the SNP, to turn that around. Not forgetting they are mitigating the bedroom tax, they kept the educational maintenance allowance, independent living fund, free university education, etc and all with a cut to Scotlands budget, ie pocket money, which is being reduced further. The title of this article is misleading to say the least. With further cuts via Barnett, Scotgov have a very very tough job on their hands. Scotland should be a rich and equal country like Norway, instead she has been asset stripped and this is continuing to happen. Expect things to get worse in 2016.Westminster, excepting the SNP MPs, have an agenda and it is immoral that they attack the poorest people in this so called united k.