“These are truly heart-breaking figures for Orkney”
Local MSP Maree Todd, SNP, has slammed the UK government’s cuts to welfare, after new figures revealed that foodbank use in Orkney has risen by a massive 40% since last year.
This significant hike in numbers visiting the foodbank in Kirkwall has seen a jump from 263 in the period April 1 to September 30, 2017 – made up of 174 adults and 89 children – to 368 for the period April 1 to September 30, 2018 – 225 adults and 143 children.
The Orkney figures are significantly higher than the Scottish average, with foodbank use in the country as a whole having risen by 15% between April and September compared to the same period in 2017. Foodbank providers have said the rise is largely due to the in-built minimum wait of five weeks for a first payment for those migrated to Universal Credit – with many more people forced to wait even longer than five weeks.
Britain’s biggest foodbank provider, the Trussell Trust, has called for ‘urgent changes’ to Universal Credit . The SNP have called for a halt to the roll-out of the scheme.
Last week, the United Nationals Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights visited the UK to investigate the impact of austerity.
Maree Todd said:
“These are truly heart-breaking figures for Orkney, which bring into sharp focus the devastating impact the Tory government is having on the local community.
“The fact that foodbank use is growing across Scotland is a clearly damning indictment of UK government cuts to welfare, and the botched roll-out of Universal Credit.
“While sustained Tory cuts have created this problem, we can see that where Universal Credit has rolled out it has made things worse – which is why the roll out of UC must be halted, so the fundamental flaws can be addressed.
“I see the impact of Tory benefit cuts on a daily basis in my constituency, and the Tories have shown time and time again that they cannot be trusted with social security in Scotland.
“Only with full powers over social security can we begin to mitigate the effects of this disaster of a UK government, in order to make Scotland an equal country with a dignified and fair welfare system.”
More information here: Foodbank figures