Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has hit out at the Tories over the growing food poverty crisis caused by the party’s welfare cuts.
It comes as new figures from the Trussell Trust show that 3,210 three-day emergency food parcels were handed out in Falkirk district between April and September this year, with 1,144 of those going to children.
Across Scotland, the charity’s food banks distributed 107,609 emergency food parcels over those six months – a 22% increase on the same period last year and the sharpest rise the Trussell Trust has seen in the last five years.
The shocking figures follow a trend of increased food bank demand across the UK since the Tory Government started rolling out Universal Credit. The main reasons people were referred to food banks in Scotland were low benefit income (38%) and delays or changes to benefits being paid (36%).
Mr Matheson said: “The fact that a charity is having to hand out more than 500 emergency food parcels a month in Falkirk district to stop people from going hungry is a damning indictment of the UK Government’s approach to the most vulnerable people in our society.
“The SNP has strongly opposed the benefits freeze, the two-child cap and the disastrous roll-out of Universal Credit but these callous Tory welfare cuts have pushed more and more people into poverty.
“It’s shameful that in one of the wealthiest countries on Earth, food banks have become commonplace on the Tories’ watch.
“The SNP Government is spending more than £100million every year trying to mitigate the UK Government’s welfare cuts but it’s becoming increasingly clear that the best way to escape Tory austerity is for voters to take Scotland’s future out of Boris Johnson’s hands on December 12 and for Scotland to take control of our own destiny.”