Local MSP Rhoda Grant, Labour, is alarmed at the continued rise in the use of Foodbanks in Scotland and in particular the Highlands and Islands. 170,625 three day emergency food supplies were handed to people in crisis, with 55,038 of these provided for children.
Rhoda Grant said:
“ I am advised that over this 12 month period in the Highlands & Islands, 12,670 three day emergency food packs were issued,3,625 going to children.
“The Report by the Trussell Trust highlights that nationally 70% of respondents found themselves in debt, 57% experienced issues with their mental or physical health, and 56% experienced housing issues. These are alarming figures and I understand that increases in utility bills and housing were the main reasons for this debt, along with insecure work and low income.
“Problems with the universal credit system were highlighted as a concern with poor administration being top of the list, poor communication and few being offered fortnightly payments.
“ The fact is simple. No one in the Scotland, never mind the Highlands & Islands should have to reply on food banks in the 21st century, so we have to look at the cause of these problems. Universal Credit is the future for the benefits system, so clearly we need to get it right.
Rhoda Grant will be writing to Angela Constance Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, in the Scottish Government with her concerns.