An increasing number of people are being driven to foodbanks by the UK Government’s welfare cuts, new figures reveal.

In Falkirk district, 3745 people – including 1213 children – were provided with three-day emergency food supplies between April and September this year, according to the Trussell Trust. That’s a 16% increase on the same period last year.

There was a 15% rise in foodbank use across Scotland, while the UK-wide figure was up 12%.

Foodbank providers said the rise is largely due to the in-built minimum wait of five weeks for a first payment for people being moved on to Universal Credit.

The Trussell Trust, Britain’s biggest foodbank provider, has called for urgent changes to the new benefit.

The SNP has consistently called for a halt to the roll-out of Universal Credit, which came into force in Falkirk for new claimants in March.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said: “These latest figures for foodbank use in Falkirk district are truly heart-breaking and bring into sharp focus the devastating impact Tory policies are having on our community.

“The growing foodbank use across the country is a damning indictment of the UK Government’s welfare cuts. There’s no doubt that the botched roll-out of Universal Credit has made things worse – and these figures show why our repeated calls to halt it, so that the fundamental flaws in the system can be addressed, can no longer be ignored.

“I see the impact of the UK Government’s benefit cuts on Falkirk district on a daily basis and the Tories have shown time and time again that they can’t be trusted with social security in Scotland.

“Only with full powers over social security can we begin to mitigate the effects of this UK Government’s disastrous policies and give Scotland a dignified and fair welfare system.”