Wednesday, 13 July 2016 06:38

REPORT into rise of foodbank use shows tory austerity does not work

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Commenting on the embargoed Citizens Advice Scotland report Living at the Sharp End: CAB Clients in Crisis Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP has called for action from the Tories to reverse the damage of their regressive policies that are driving people in Scotland into crisis.

The report is based on evidence gathered over the last four years and highlights that an increasing number of people turning to Citizens Advice Scotland for help are experiencing periods of no income, are unable to afford essentials including no food, gas and electricity to heat their homes, or rent and even more worryingly, are the number of people attending CAB have not eaten in several days due to the UK Government’s regressive austerity agenda.

During 2014/15, advice relating to food banks was given on more than 7,400 occasions at CABs in Scotland – an increase of 47% on the previous year – and of the people seeking advice from CABs about foodbanks, one in three have children and 33% said they had a disability.

Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, SNP spokesperson for Social Justice, said:

“If there is one thing that is clear from this research it’s that austerity does not work. The need for foodbanks is a shameful indictment on our society and the Tories should be deeply ashamed that their social policies are actively driving people into desperate situations accessing basics like food and energy.

“When Theresa May gets the keys to Downing Street today she must not continue with the Tory “business as usual” of drastic cuts for those who are least able to bear them – the fact that there is such a demand for foodbanks is damning exposure of the Tory Party’s welfare reforms. Instead of driving people further into poverty, Theresa May must tackle the root causes of poverty.

“The Scottish Government is currently spending £100m a year on mitigating the worst effects of welfare cuts, but this is money that could be much better spent addressing poverty.

“With some new powers being devolved to the Scottish Parliament it gives Scotland the opportunity to take a different approach to the Tories and the SNP is committed to putting dignity and respect at the heart of social security in Scotland.

“But with 85% of welfare spending still firmly in the hands of right-wing Tories, the UK Government must take urgent action to reverse the damage done by their regressive social policies to the most disadvantaged in Scotland.”