Food banks

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Like your other correspondents (Letters, 27 June), I think it was brave of David Mundell MP to attend the opening of Scotland’s latest food bank. It is important that he sees and recognises the commitment which armies of volunteers are bringing to the task of addressing poverty, deprivation and hunger in his constituency. The general sense of dismay that things have come to this in our rich country ought not to detract from the work of the Trussell Trust and others in building a community response to this growing crisis.

In particular, their supermarket collections are an effective way of carrying the argument to the public, confronting us with the unpalatable truth about food poverty and soliciting for the donation of vital supplies.

At the same time it is impossible to ignore the evidence that the UK Government is directly responsible for a big part of the rising demand. Late payment of benefits, welfare cutbacks and a draconian sanctions regime are major contributory factors.

Listening to Chancellor George Osborne and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith it is clear that this is not an accident but a deliberate policy advanced in the full knowledge that some of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens would be affected.

So let us hope that the Secretary of State for Scotland carries these experiences back to the next meeting of the UK Cabinet to argue, even if only on humanitarian grounds, for a reversal of these vindictive, inappropriate and ultimately counter-productive welfare policies.

Martin Sime

Scottish Council for 
Voluntary Organisations

Mansfield Place

Edinburgh

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