Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MP Gregg McClymont has accused the UK Government of “sticking its head in the sand” over the reality behind food banks.
Ahead of a Commons debate on food poverty he cited figures showing that more than 51,000 people received a minimum three day supply of emergency food from a Trussell Trust food bank between April and September – 124 per cent more than those helped in the same period last year.
His remarks chime with the view of several leading charities, who say there’s hard evidence that government policies are driving ever greater numbers of people into food poverty.
These include “the working poor” whose wages are too low to keep up with costs.
Mr McClymont said: “It is a disgrace that the numbers of people relying on foodbanks has rocketed.
“The reasons for this, as highlighted by the Trussell Trust, include changes to the benefits system (including unfair and arbitrary sanctions) and low income.
“The Government can and must take steps to address this. It’s not good enough that one in five people are on low wages.
“It’s not good enough that many people in the benefits system are being unfairly sanctioned as a result of Atos failings, and this must also be addressed.
He added: “The Government is sticking its head in the sand claiming that the increase in food banks is driving demand.
“This is an insult to many parents who have skipped meals to ensure their children don’t go hungry– it’s time that Ministers got a grip and took the issue seriously.”