Fulton MacGregor, SNP MSP for Coatbridge and Chryston, has criticised the UK government for “driving families to food banks” after new figures reveal the number of food parcels has increased over the past year.


The Trussell Trust’s annual foodbank statistics show that the number of food parcels distributed in Scotland surged by 17% in 2017-18 to record levels – with Tory welfare policy remaining the main driver.


Benefit delays and sanctions are the primary reason for referrals, with the roll-out of universal credit a factor in the rise.


The SNP have called on the UK government to reverse the benefits freeze and introduce a real living wage to help ensure families have enough money to live on.


Commenting, Fulton MacGregor MSP said:


“Millions of families across the UK are suffering from a Tory pay cut – as rising prices, stagnant wages, and cuts to social security continue to squeeze living standards and push households into poverty, debt and crisis.


“These figures from the Trussell Trust show that the problem is getting worse – with food bank usage rising year on year. Tory policies are making it harder for families to cover even the basic costs of food, housing, and bills.


“Families cannot afford another year of Tory cuts. It is vital that the UK government finally takes meaningful action to boost incomes. This must include delivering a real living wage and reverse the benefits freeze to help ensure families have enough money to live on.”


“In the last 12-month period Coatbridge Community Foodbank have distributed food to over 1400 adults and 1000 children living in crisis. Over 50% of referrals to the foodbank have been due to benefit related issues, these statistics are unlikely to change with the roll out of universal credit further punishing the already vulnerable within our communities.


Similarly, Drumpellier Christian Fellowship work locally to help those suffering as a result of Tory austerity cuts. Established in 2017, the fellowship distribute food donations received from the Tesco Fairshare Initiative and other agencies to families and individuals within the local area who need assistance with day to day living.


In addition, the ‘Cool School Uniform’ initiative was launched with the aim of providing school uniforms to families struggling to make ends meet.


Commenting, Fulton MacGregor MSP said:


“It’s a disgrace that families in my constituency and across Scotland are having to rely on emergency parcels just to get by. However, I must recognise the good work of organisations within the constituency who do provide for families in need.”

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