In numbers: Foodbank users in Scotland
Statistics from the Trussell Trust have revealed more people in Scotland use foodbanks than anywhere else in the UK.
A total of 117,689 adults and children were reliant on Trussell Trust foodbanks in 2014/15 - with 36,114 being children.
There was over a 30 per cent increase in just one year of people needing foodbanks - an increase of 46,261 people.
One in five (22.26 per cent) of those people using foodbanks deemed it essential to survival due to having too low an income to cover weekly food costs. Low income referrals have grown from 20 per cent in 2013/14 to 22 per cent of all referrals in 2014/15. Foodbank managers reported that clients who are in work are struggling with insecure work, low wages and high living costs.
Qualified teacher and mother of two, Susan, says: “I have an 18 month old son and an eight-year-old stepson, I work part time as a teacher and my husband has an insecure agency contract. There are times when he doesn’t get enough hours of work, and we really struggle to afford food and pay the bills. The foodbank meant we could put food on the table.”
Trussell Trust UK foodbank director Adrian Curtis says: “Despite welcome signs of economic recovery, hunger continues to affect significant numbers of men, women and children in the UK today. It’s difficult to be sure of the full extent of the problem as Trussell Trust figures don’t include people who are helped by other food charities or those who feel too ashamed to seek help.
“The Trussell Trust’s latest figures highlight how vital it is that we all work to prevent and relieve hunger in the UK. It’s crucial that we listen to the experiences of people using foodbanks to truly understand the nature of the problems they face; what people who have gone hungry have to say holds the key to finding the solution.”
Dr John Middleton, Vice President of Faculty of Public Health says: “The rising number of families and individuals who cannot afford to buy sufficient food is a public health issue that we must not ignore. For many people, it is not a question of eating well and eating healthily, it is a question of not being able to afford to eat at all. UK poverty is already creating massive health issues for people today, and if we do not tackle the root causes of food poverty now we will see it affecting future generations too. The increased burden of managing people’s health will only increase if we do not address the drivers of people to food banks.”
These foodbanks are also having impacts on local communities with over 90% of Trussell Trust foodbanks providing additional services alongside food to help people out of crisis long term, with 445 foodbanks run in partnership with local churches and community groups.