While I found myself in agreement with the assertion that no one political party can be held responsible for the existence of food banks (Letters, 27 July), it is also true that government policy can either ease or increase the financial pressure men, women and children in Scotland experience. My concern is that the introduction of the Welfare Reform Act in 2012 played a role in demand for emergency food in Scotland exploding by 400 per cent in one year and all of the evidence points to a demand-driven, rather than supply-led, need.
While some question why I invited Scotland’s only UK government Cabinet member to open Dumfriesshire food bank, surely we can all agree we must find constructive ways of communicating the negative impacts of policy to those who have some level of power to retain, reform or repeal them?
This has to be an absolute priority for the voluntary sector in Scotland. Our responsibility is not to deliver political change but to, at least, raise the profile of those experiencing hardship to those who can deliver such change.
Finally, I would also argue that the existence of food banks pre-dates the 1960s. The history books highlight that food was distributed from religious houses, such as monasteries, from as early as the 13th century and while it is unacceptable that food poverty should now exist to the extent it does in a developed nation, I believe that voluntary effort will always be required to some extent.
Scotland Network Manager
The Trussell Trust,
Balunie Drive, Dundee