Friday, 25 April 2014

Use of foodbanks soars

Katy Clark MP has revealed a shocking ten-fold rise in the number of local people forced to use foodbanks in North Ayrshire to stave-off hunger.

Figures produced by the Trussell Trust, which operates the foodbank at the Church of the Nazerene in Ardrossan, show that 4,063 people received three-days-worth of emergency food in North Ayrshire in the year 2013/14 - up from 364 in 2012/13. In the same two-year period, the number of children receiving food jumped from 119 to 1,320.

According to the Trussell Trust, half of referrals to foodbanks in 2013-14 were a result of changes to people’s benefits or delays in payments.

An angry Katy Clark said, “The jump in the number of people requiring support from foodbanks in North Ayrshire is simply appalling. It cannot be acceptable that in the sixth-largest economy in 2014, people do not have enough food to eat.”

Ms Clark said the shocking figures are a “damning indictment” of the UK Tory-Lib Dem Government’s “austerity measures.”

The Labour MP for North Ayrshire & Arran noted, “The Trussell Trust has identified that the three biggest reasons for people turning to foodbanks were delays in benefit payments, low pay and benefit changes. There can now be no denying that this huge increase in foodbank use is a direct consequence of the policies this Government has pursued. We are now seeing the human cost that punitive measures, such as the Government’s Bedroom Tax and sanctions regime, are having on our communities.

“It is important to pay tribute to the fantastic work done by all those who have volunteered in foodbanks over the past year, particularly those who have worked so hard at the North Ayrshire foodbank in Ardrossan. I very much hope that their workload will be reduced over the coming year. Sadly, however, unless the Government changes course, this will not happen.”

Across the United Kingdom in the past year, 913,138 people received emergency food packages (three-days of food) from foodbanks, up from 346,992 in 2012/13 and 61,468 in 2010/11.

The North Ayrshire foodbank in Ardrossan currently requires donations of food. Volunteers would be grateful to receive any of the following: milk (UHT or powdered), sugar, fruit juice (cartons), soup, pasta sauces, sponge pudding (tinned), cereals, rice pudding (tinned), tomatoes (tinned), tea bags and instant coffee, instant mashed potato, rice, pasta, tinned meat and fish, tinned vegetables, tinned fruit, jam, biscuits, snack bars.

Items can be dropped-off at the Church of Nazerene, 150 Glasgow Street, Ardrossan.

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