Shock rise in foodbank users in Levenmouth

Users of the foodbank have increased by 18.5 per cent.
Users of the foodbank have increased by 18.5 per cent.

There has been a shock rise in the number of people relying on the foodbank in Levenmouth.

The latest figures reveal a ‘‘horrifying’’ rise in demand for the town’s lifeline service.

MP Stephen Gethins with Tesco store manager Sharon Duchan and foodbank volunteers

MP Stephen Gethins with Tesco store manager Sharon Duchan and foodbank volunteers

Figures from the Trussell Trust, which operates 50 foodbanks across Scotland, showed that between April and September, 1083 people – 772 adults and 311 children – relied on the foodbank compared with the same period last year. This is an increase of 18.5 per cent and the charity is predicting that with the onset of winter, demand is set to rise.

Alison Nelson, manager of the foodbank, said the three main reasons people visited foodbanks were benefit delays, low income and benefit changes.

She said: “Difficulties related to welfare benefits are still driving the majority of people to our Scottish foodbanks but now one in five of those referred is on a low income and among that number is a growing body of people in low paid employment who are simply unable to make the pay cheque stretch far enough when crisis hits.

“The increasing instability of the oil, gas and steel industries has already led to significant numbers of people being made redundant and figures revealed in the last week also show that unemployment has risen in Scotland while decreasing in the rest of the UK.

“Furthermore, if the proposed changes to child tax credits are implemented, at a UK level, we’re concerned that more working families will not be able to make ends meet.”

Stephen Gethins, North East Fife MP, said he was ‘horrified’ by the statistics and called Westminster to re-think its benefits changes.

“That any government would consider further cuts to the incomes of the poorest families in our society in the face of such clear evidence of rising poverty is appalling – yet George Osborne is set to plough ahead with £12bn more social security cuts,” he said.

“We will not let up on our opposition to these callous cuts. If they do go ahead we stand ready to protect low income households in Scotland.

He added: “We are very fortunate to have The Trussell Trust running many of our foodbanks and a great team of volunteers who provide much needed help and support to those using the service.”