The Tories’ bungled welfare reforms have driven thousands more people in Scotland to food banks in the past year, according to the UK’s largest food bank provider.

The Trussell Trust said it supplied 210,605 three-day emergency food parcels in Scotland between April last year and the end of March this year – a 23 per cent rise on the previous 12 months. About a third of the recipients were children.

In the Falkirk Council area, 7,832 parcels were provided – 5,223 to adults and 2,609 to children. That’s a 20 per cent rise on the 6,522 parcels handed out locally between April 2017 and March 2018.

Issues with the roll-out of Universal Credit, the Tories’ flagship welfare reform, were a “key driver” in increasing food poverty, according to the Trussell Trust.
Across Scotland, 42% of food bank referrals made due to a delay in benefit payments were linked to Universal Credit.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said: “The roll-out of Universal Credit has been a disaster, driving people into poverty and forcing many families to rely on food banks.

“These figures show that on an average day 21 emergency food parcels are being provided in Falkirk district – a heart-breaking statistic that is clearly unacceptable in a country as wealthy as ours.

“The reality is that families and vulnerable people are being driven to food banks because the UK Government has been ignoring repeated calls, including from the SNP, to halt the roll-out of Universal Credit.

“The Tories’ disastrous record on welfare shows why Scotland should have the power to take our own approach on these matters.”