Monica Demands Government Action as Emergency Foodbank Parcels Hit All Time High

Monica  has demanded urgent measures from UK and Scottish ministers after a leading charity announced a record number of emergency food parcels have been distributed.

In 2022, 10,050 food parcels were distributed in the Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse constituency, a 73% rise from the previous year and an 83% increase in the number of parcels provided to children.

New Annual figures from the Trussell Trust reveal that 259,744 emergency food parcels were provided by their food banks in Scotland in the past 12 months.

  • This is a 30% increase compared to 2021/22
  • Alarmingly almost 90,000 of the parcels were provided for children.
  • The number of parcels provided between April 2022 – March 2023 is 50% higher than the amount distributed by food banks in Scotland in the same period five years ago.
  • The charity is calling for a stronger social security system to ensure people can afford essentials, including food, heating and clothing.

Commenting, Monica said: “In a nation as rich as ours, no one should be going hungry but the record rise in emergency food parcels proves that people in Lanarkshire and across Scotland are being failed.

“Many of the families needing help are in work but their wages are not meeting their basic needs, and the social security system is not as fair as it should be.

“I’m backing more than 30 charities and civil society groups in Scotland in calling for the Scottish Government to top-up Scottish Child Payments for parents under 25 who receive Universal Credit, because we know they are at greater risk of poverty.

“And the UK government must urgently reverse its policy of age discrimination in Universal Credit and pay under 25s the same rate of benefits as over 25s.

“Allowing poverty to grow is damaging to the whole of society.”

Monica has also been campaigning for universal free school meals to be expanded to all pupils in Scotland.

The number of parcels provided this year is 50% higher than the amount distributed by food banks in the Trussell Trust network in Scotland five years ago, in 2017/18.

The annual statistics also indicate that an increasing number of people are struggling to afford the essentials, with more than 62,000 people in Scotland using one of the 138 Trussell Trust food bank centres for the first time - this is more people than can fit into Hampden Park.

Shona Singer, a Foodbank Project Manager said:

“With food banks in the Trussell Trust network in Scotland distributing more parcels to children than ever before, further and immediate action needs to be taken by the Scottish Government, using all resources available to it, to ensure the Scottish Child Payment is meeting the objective of reducing child poverty in Scotland. Food banks also eagerly await the publication of the final version of the national plan to end the need for food banks – two years after this commitment was made.

“Food banks across Scotland are seeing increasing demand for their services, and while donation levels remain relatively steady despite the cost-of-living crisis, they are not keeping up with current need. If you want to help people within your community, please visit your local food bank’s website and find out what items they need donating the most.”

Monica Lennon is an MSP for the Central Scotland Region. In 2021, she passed the ground-breaking Period Product (Scotland) Act. Follow her on Twitter for recent updates.