Scrap bus fares to help Fifers get to foodbanks

Challenge to Stagecoach on foodbanks
Challenge to Stagecoach on foodbanks

Fife Council and Stagecoach have been urged to cover the cost of travel to foodbanks across Fife.

The challenge comes from Gordon Brown just weeks after he stood down as MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

Gordon Brown

Gordon Brown

He wants them to work together to make it easier for people to get to and from foodbanks for vital supplies which sustain their families.

Mr Brown, who stood down from Westminster when Parliament disssolved last month, has asked the local authority and Brian Souter, owner of Stagecoach to waive fares for people travelling to foodbanks in his former constituency - and across the Kingdom.

His action came after a visit to a foodbank in Cowdenbeath with Alex Rowley MSP.

He was shocked to hear some people were walking vast distances - in some cases many miles - to their local foodbank because they couldn’t afford to get a bus.

It’s time we had a Fife-wide policy to help food bank users get to the banks

Gordon Brown

Some were making the journey there and back on foot in order to feed their young families and relatives.

Now, Mr Brown wants to see a Fife-wide policy to offer as much support as possible to all foodbanks and those using them.

Mr Brown said he was shocked by stories suggesting some of the county’s poorest could not access the food banks - just four years ago there were 7,500 users across Scotland. Now there are 75,000.

He said: “I’ve heard stories of how some mothers walked for 12 miles to the nearest food bank.

‘‘And I’ve heard of others who just could not afford the bus fares to get to the food bank.’’

He continued: “It’s time we had a Fife-wide policy to help food bank users get to the banks.

‘‘I would like Stagecoach to offer bus travel free of charge for those who are on their way to using food banks.

“Cowdenbeath food bank has offered bus fares as a result of a grant from the council’s Dunfermline area committee .

“But I would like to see this extended to Kirkcaldy and beyond, with a Fife-wide policy to help people in need.”

Mr Brown also welcomed an announcement by council leader Councillor David Ross to call a summit of foodbanks across Fife to see what more can be done to support them from the anti-poverty budgets awarded by the council to each area committee.