Scottish food banks fear busiest summer ever is ahead

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New figures released by the Trussell Trust reveal 21% increase in emergency food parcels for children in Scotland last summer

The Trussell Trust is urging the public to donate food to their local food bank, as new figures show 6,551 food parcels went to children in Scotland during the six weeks of the school summer holidays in 2018, a 21% increase on the same period in 2017.*

Over a third of all emergency food parcels distributed by Scottish food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network go to children, but there is extra financial pressure during the holiday period for families who are entitled to free school meals during term time.

The figures come against a backdrop of soaring food bank use in Scotland. In 2018-19, food bank use escalated throughout the year with a 23% total increase, and it is expected this trend will continue, prompting concerns that this summer will be the Trussell Trust network’s busiest to date. Ahead of schools breaking up this week, the Trussell Trust is urging people check what items their local food bank is most in need of.

While these donations are vital for helping families during the next six weeks, the charity has stressed food banks are not a long-term solution, and more must be done to ensure people have enough money for essentials like food.

The Trussell Trust believes tackling delays and gaps in benefits, which affect families’ ability to afford essentials, should be treated as a priority by the Government. The most immediate relief for thousands of people would be to end the five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment, a key driver of increased need at food banks in the charity’s network.

Laura Ferguson, Operations Manager for Scotland at the Trussell Trust, explains:

“No charity can replace the dignity of having enough money for the basics. But more and more families across Scotland are struggling to make ends meet, unable to afford food and facing hunger as a result. This isn’t right.

“Food banks do all they can to help families over the summer, with many running holiday clubs to support parents who find that their income simply won’t stretch to meet the extra pressure of missing free school meals or paying for extra childcare during the holidays.

“But ultimately, we should all be protected from needing a food bank’s help, no matter the time of the year. If we are to end hunger in Scotland, we need to make sure everyone is anchored from being swept into poverty. The Government needs to ensure benefit payments reflect the true cost of living and work is secure, paying the real Living Wage, which would help eliminate the need for a food bank parcel altogether.

“While it’s great to see the Scottish Government pledging to tackle holiday hunger, food banks and other emergency food provision cannot, and must not, be a long term to solution to poverty.”

Ends

Contact:

Contact the Trussell Trust Press Office at 020 3137 3699 or press@trusselltrust.org

Notes to Editor

There are 135 food bank centres in the Trussell Trust’s network in Scotland.

The Trussell Trust’s #5WeeksTooLong campaign is calling for an end to the 5+ week wait for Universal Credit.

  • ‘Emergency food parcel’: three days’ emergency food for one person. These statistics are a measure of volume rather than unique individuals. Recent analysis shows on average people need around two food bank referrals in a year. More information about the way this data is gathered and what it can and can’t show here.

About the Trussell Trust:

  • We’re here to end the need for food banks in UK.
  • We support a UK-wide network of more than 1,200 food bank centres and together we provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty, and campaign for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.
  • Our most recent figures for the number of emergency food supplies provided by our network: https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/
  • You can read more about our work at trusselltrust.org

 

Food parcels to adults and children for summer holidays 2017 Food parcels to adults and children for summer holidays 2018 % change 2017-2018
Scotland Adults 12,066 14,204 17.7%
Children 5,412 6,551 21.0%
Total 17,478 20,755 18.7%

*Number of food parcels to adults and children for the summer holidays