Food Insecurity Sees Many Scots Running Out of Food

Increasing numbers of people are having to access basic food and other supplies from Foodbanks. The recent statistics are shocking.

New figures released last week by the Trussell Trust, one of the organisations which runs Foodbanks across the UK, reveal that 1.3m emergency food parcels were provided to people between April and September this year. Nearly half a million of them went to children.

The research by the Trussell Trust also found that 1 in 5 of the people accessing their help were in working households. The increase in people having to turn to Foodbanks in the UK has seen a rise of 33% since this time last year.

Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands Labour MSP lodged a members bill to enshrine the Right to Food in Scots law last year but this received a set back by a statement from the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee.

Commenting on the latest statistics by The Trussell Trust, Rhoda Grant said:

“These shocking statistics paint a bleak picture of the impact of the cost of living crisis on families across Scotland. It is an absolute disgrace that so many people and families are being forced to turn to food banks, many for the first time ever.

“Years of Tory austerity and economic mismanagement have not lead to the prosperity we were promised so long ago. Instead, more Scots than ever are struggling to put food on the table. The Scottish Government must commit to further helping those suffering most from the cost of living crisis and take the opportunity they rejected before to enshrine the UN right to food in Scots law.”

In Scotland the Trussell Trust distributed 116,000 emergency food parcels between 1 April to 30 September 2022, including 40,000 parcels for children. This was a 34% increase from last year.

This represents the most parcels ever distributed for children in Scotland by food banks in the Trussell Trust network over these months, and this came during a period when every child under six years old who was living in a household with a low income was entitled to an additional £20 a week from the Scottish Child Payment.

Emergency food parcel distribution in Scotland: April – September 2022

On Monday 14th of November the Scottish Child payment  increased to £25 and was extended to include eligible children up to age 16. Around 104,000 children already getting the payment will automatically see the payment increase to £25 per week – which represents a 150% increase within eight months. This is also the rate for all those now eligible up to age 16.

The Scottish Child Payment is part of a wider package of five family payments including: Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment, Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment, Best Start Grant School Age Payment and Best Start Foods

The report for Scotland acknowledges that ” data from food banks in the Trussell Trust network is just one part of the picture of need in Scotland. There is a wide range of alternative emergency food provision that will be supporting people that is not captured in our parcel data. There are also many people who are severely food insecure who do not receive support from food banks.”

Monthly analysis of the number of emergency food parcels distributed across Scotland in the first half of 2022/23 by food banks in the Trussell Trust network and comparison to previous years

In the most recent Scottish Health Survey

Across all adults of those surveyed in 2021, a lack of money or other resources in the previous 12 months resulted in:

The highest levels of food insecurity were among single parents and single adults under the age of 65.

It is pretty much impossible to maintain a healthy diet and to look after your mental wellbeing when you are wondering if you will be able to feed yourself and your loved ones.

Emma Roddick is the Highlands and Islands SNP MSP. She has slammed the decision of the UK Government to leave the world’s largest free trade market, the EU, which has seen food prices rise. Scottish exporters have also faced long delays at cross channel ports in the south of England. The rise in food prices was happening long before Russia invaded Ukraine which has added to the rise in some supplies.

She said:

“Yet again, we have confirmation that Brexit doesn’t work, and that it comes at the expense of households and businesses here in the Orkney Islands. Businesses and households will continue to suffer as a result. The only way they and the rest of Scotland can flourish is by escaping Brexit and becoming an independent country back in the European Union.

“It has been estimated that businesses in the Orkney Islands have missed out on £10,351,510 which represents £973 per household. Scotland’s economy has suffered the double whammy of leaving the EU and the Tory-made cost of living crisis. Last week we learned that Scottish exports had nose-dived by 13% since Brexit.

“We know there is no way back to the EU under Westminster control with Labour signed up as a fully-fledged Brexit party. No matter the economic consequences, Labour will keep Scotland out of the European Union, a market seven times the size of the UK. Meanwhile countries of a similar size to us continue to outperform the UK. That is why it is only with independence that Scotland can unleash its full potential by re-joining the European Union.”

Last week the UK’s current Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, attended the 38th British-Irish Council Summit in Blackpool. The summit was chaired by the Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, Michael Gove and covered the war in Ukraine, the rising cost of living and sustainable economic growth.

Commenting on the summit which was attended by the leaders of the parliaments in Scotland and Wales as well, Michael Gove said:

“This British-Irish Council has given us an opportunity to discuss the challenge all parts of these islands face with the rising cost of living and how we can do more to support the most vulnerable in our communities.

“The Prime Minister’s attendance and constructive conversations the First Ministers is a clear signal of our renewed ambition to work more closely together, with an absolute focus on tackling the most pressing issues across the UK.”

Jeremy Hunt is the current UK Chancellor of the Exchequer. On 17th of October in his new role he said:

“The central responsibility of any government is to do what is necessary for economic stability.” and “That means decisions of eye-watering difficulty.”

The ground is being prepared for new budget announcements at the end of this month. The UK economy might have been massively mismanaged by its Government but it is still one of the richest in the world. The equality gap is increasing due to the failures of our economic and political system.

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” Franklin D Roosevelt

Click on this link for information and support: Help during the cost of living crisis

Fiona Grahame

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