I have received a number of emails regarding food banks and food insecurity from constituents. The format of these emails does not allow me to respond personally, but I will set out my position here.
The level of food bank use across the UK are totally unacceptable. This is evidence of the complete failure of the UK Government to properly support people on low incomes across the UK, forcing them into crisis and reliance on food banks.
Trussell Trust research has made strong links between food bank use and the UK Government's welfare policies. They found 42% of foodbank referrals for the financial year 2015/16 needed a foodbank due to either benefit delays or benefit changes. 2 in 5 foodbanks they surveyed said Universal Credit is linked to increasing debts.
Yet when we try to question UK Government Ministers on foodbank usage in the UK, they refuse to comment.
It is clear the Tories are embarrassed about their track record on food poverty, which is only rising under their austerity policies.
The Tory’s car-crash approach to Brexit is also pushing up CPI, which is in turn making the cost of living and food prices continue to soar. Only certainty from this Government on Brexit and staying in the Single Market will stabilise household finances.
The SNP Government in Scotland are continued the £1 million a year Fair Food Fund into 2018/19. In addition, a further £1 million has helped fund new activity to support children facing food insecurity, particularly during school holidays. In Scotland we also provide free school meals for all pupils in P1-3, and for those from a low income background throughout their time at school.