SNP MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde, Stuart McMillan, has once again slammed the UK government’s cuts to welfare, after new figures revealed that foodbank use in Inverclyde has risen by 35% from 1 April 2018 to 30 September 2018, compared with the same period last year.
Foodbank use in Scotland has risen by 15% between April and September compared to the same period in 2017. Foodbank providers have said the rise is largely due to the in-built minimum wait of five weeks for a first payment for those migrated to Universal Credit – with many more people forced to wait even longer than five weeks.
Britain’s biggest foodbank provider, the Trussell Trust, has called for ‘urgent changes’ to Universal Credit – while the SNP have consistently called for a halt to the roll-out of the scheme.
Last week, the United Nationals Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights visited the UK to investigate the impact of austerity.
Commenting on the figures, Mr McMillan said:
“In my Telegraph column last Thursday, I highlighted the shocking increase in foodbank usage and these Inverclyde figures are truly heart-breaking. They bring into sharp focus the devastating impact the Tory government is having on our local community. The fact that foodbank use is growing across Scotland is a damning indictment of UK government cuts to welfare, and the botched rollout of Universal Credit.
“While sustained Tory cuts have created this problem, we can see that where Universal Credit has been rolled out it has made things worse – which is why the roll out of UC must be halted, so the fundamental flaws can be addressed.
“On Friday I attended Inverclyde Childminding Network’s event at Funworld, where people were asked to bring foodbank donations instead of paying the normal admittance fee to the soft-play centre.
“While I’m delighted that the total weight of the donations collected was an incredible 392.35kg, it seems that the local foodbank is always facing shortages, unable to meet the need, as more and more people struggle to put food on the table.
“Inverclyde Foodbank distributed around 300 Christmas Day hampers for people in Inverclyde last year, and they suspect this figure will only rise this year.
“I see the impact of Tory benefit cuts on a daily basis in my constituency, and the Tories have shown time and time again that they cannot be trusted with social security in Scotland. Only with full powers over social security can we begin to mitigate the effects of this disaster of a UK government, in order to make Scotland an equal country with a dignified and fair welfare system.”