Cost-of-living crisis: Food banks usage in Scotland now higher than during the coronavirus pandemic

Food bank usage in Scotland is now even more widespread than during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Trussell Trust figures that show demand has increased by more than a third.

Food banks in the Trussell Trust network in Scotland distributed 116,000 emergency food parcels between April 1 to September 30, including 40,000 parcels for children.

This represents a 34 per cent increase in the total number of parcels distributed compared to the same period in 2021/22, and a 65 per cent increase since the same period five years ago (2017/18).

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These reflect recent Scottish Government figures showing applications for crisis grants delivered through the Scottish Welfare Fund have increased 31 per cent from September last year to September 2022.

The cost of living crisis is impacting all of us.

The level of need seen in Scotland in the first half of this year is now even higher than the level of need seen in the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020/21, making this the busiest six months on record for this time of year.

Polly Jones, head of Scotland at the Trussell Trust, said: “Everyone in Scotland should be able to afford the essentials – to buy their own food and heat their homes.

“This has got harder in the last six months, with 27,000 people needing a food parcel for the first time and a huge increase in children needing our support. This is not right.

“Building on its track record of increasing the Scottish Child Payment from £10 a week to £25, and the extension to all children under 16, we urge the Scottish Government to take further action to deliver immediate and direct cash support to households, as well as urgently publishing the overdue national plan to end the need for food banks.

“We are also urging the Scottish Government to use all its powers and resources to address financial hardship and the cost-of-living crisis … [and] deliver immediate and direct cash support to households.”

Data from food banks in the Trussell Trust network is just one part of the picture of need in Scotland. There is a wide range of alternative emergency food provision that will be supporting people that is not captured in our parcel data.

There are also many people who are severely food insecure who do not receive support from food banks. There are a number of ways Scotsman readers can help the Trussell Trust.

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Make a financial donation, to the Trussell Trust, in support of the Emergency Appeal Fund. Visit trusselltrust.org/winter for more information or call 01722 580 178 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).

Readers can donate food and toiletries to their local food bank. Visit trusselltrust.org to find you nearest food bank, view the list of items they need most and locate your nearest collection point.

Check your local food bank’s website and social media to see if they need any volunteering support.

Visit www.trusselltrust.org/appeal for more information.

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