More than 200,000 food bank parcels used last year, figures reveal

NOTEBOOK by BILL HEANEY

The Trussell Trust charity says that food bank use is ‘set to get worse’ as the cost-of-living crisis deepens.

New figures have revealed that almost 200,000 food bank parcels were provided to people across Scotland in the past year.

This is a shocking figure and a damning reflection on the 15 years the SNP have spent in government in Scotland. And five years of them running the council in West Dunbartonshire.

The Trussell Trust’s network of food banks handed out 197,000 food packages in Scotland during the 12 months before March 2022.

The figures also revealed that 70,000 parcels were provided for hungry children in the same period.

When compared to the same period last year, the need for emergency food has decreased by 17%, which is something, but it remains 31% higher when compared to the same period five years ago.

That is how long the SNP administration have been power at West Dunbartonshire Council.

And they haven’t as much as blushed when they have come to our door and asked us to vote for them at the local council elections on Thursday, May 5.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her colleagues at West Dunbartonshire Council should think black, burning shame of themselves for their miserable performance here.

The Trussell Trust has now warned of an “accelerating crisis” across the country following the £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit and the rise in living costs.

Lord save us if a majority of us are prepared to re-elect this basket SNP case council when we go (hopefully, we will all go to the polling stations to cast our vote.)

Polly Jones, head of Scotland at the Trussell Trust, said: “We should all be free from hunger. No one should be pushed deeper into poverty without enough money for the things we all need.

“And yet people are telling us they’re skipping meals to feed their children and turning off the heating so they can afford internet access for their kids to do their homework.

“This isn’t right – and food banks in our network are telling us this is only set to get worse as their communities are pushed deeper into financial hardship. No one’s income should fall so dangerously low that they cannot afford to stay fed, warm and dry.

“But there is still time for governments at every level to do the right thing, and ensure that people at the sharpest end of the crisis are able to afford the essentials we all need in life.

“That’s why we are urging the UK government to make benefits realistic for the times we face, and calling on the Scottish Government to use its powers to do all it can to support people on the lowest incomes.”

However, even the Trussell Trust, appear to be clueless when it comes to giving advice to hungry people during the current crisis.

They are as laughable as the advice my late friend Dan Lynch of this parish once told me about.

A Sheriff had once told an incorrigible  alcoholic, who was appearing before him in court on a number of insignificant charges: “Why don’t you confine yourself to a small sherry after dinner?”

There is about as much chance of that happening as hungry people in deprived areas taking the Trust advice to creating “grow your own” baskets on their window sills, or in making space for them in their canal boat. Yes, a canal boat.

The five tips to reduce food waste and save cash being given out by the Trust are as follows: 

  • Look at discounted ‘yellow label’ areas of the supermarket – sell by dates often see perfectly good food being heavily discounted
  • Learn how to make basic recipes for sauces and soups using cheaper items
  • Buy seasonal fruit and veg from local suppliers that have travelled shorter distances to make it to your plate
  • Consider simple ‘grow your own’ boxes for herbs and veg that can be visited again and again – they only take up a small amount of space and can be adapted to your flat/house/bungalow/canal boat
  • Check your food storage – is your fridge the right temperature? Are your boxes sealed properly?

And when your money runs out …

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