Shocking new figures from a UK-wide charity have revealed that over 2,000 North Ayrshire residents have been referred to local foodbanks in the past few months.
The Trussell Trust, which operates foodbanks in Ardrossan and Irvine, has found that over 60,000 people in Scotland relied on emergency food-aid in the last quarter of the year, with 44% of referrals resulting from Social Security sanctions or delays to benefits-payments being received.
Of a total 2,005 foodbank referrals in North Ayrshire, 643 related directly to starving children.
The news of more people starving as a result of UK Government cuts came as it was revealed that Tory ministers intend to increase military spending by a further £12bn, while the cost of upgrading Britain’s nuclear weapons of mass destruction is expected to rise by around £6bn, taking the total figure to over £120bn.
Reacting to the new figures showing the impact of severe poverty in North Ayrshire, local MSP Margaret Burgess said, “These are alarming: they represent 2,005 occasions where people in North Ayrshire were in such dire-straits that they could not afford to eat, and on almost 650 occasions this happened to a family with children.”
The SNP MSP for Cunninghame South said the figures confirm UK Government benefit changes and delays continue to be the most common reason for people seeking emergency food-aid, adding, “While Tory Ministers have their head in the sand on the issue, the Scottish Government recognises this link and is spending almost £300-million over three-years to mitigate Tory Social Security cuts.”
Mrs Burgess continued, “That any government would consider further cuts to the incomes of the poorest families in our society in the face of such clear evidence of rising poverty is appalling, yet George Osborne is set to plough-ahead with £12-billion more in Social Security cuts.”
Calling for the UK Tory Government to scrap planned cuts to Tax Credits, Margaret Burgess said she and the SNP Scottish Government will “not let up on our opposition to these callous cuts and, if they do go ahead, we stand ready to protect low-income households in Scotland.”