‘Alarming’ rise in West Lothian food bank referrals

The number of people using food banks has risen
The number of people using food banks has risen

Hundreds of people in West Lothian have turned to food banks this year according to figures released by the Trussell Trust.

Between April and September, 1708 referrals were made for emergency food aid, including from almost 500 children.

Linlithgow MSP, Fiona Hyslop, said: “These figures are very alarming – they represent 1,708 occasions where people across West Lothian were in such dire straits that they could not afford to eat and on almost 469 occasions this happened to a family with children.

“The figures also show that UK Government benefit changes and delays continue to be the most common reason for people seeking emergency food aid. While the UK Government is ignoring this issue, the Scottish Government recognises this connection and is spending almost £300 million over three years to mitigate Tory social security cuts.

“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 Westminster is set to plough ahead with £12 billion more social security cuts. If these planned cuts go ahead, I will do whatever I can to protect low income households in West Lothian.”

The number of food bank referrals in Scotland has increased to over 60,000 in the last quarter and 44 per cent of these were for benefit delays and cuts.