In the limited time available, I would like to draw the House’s attention to the activity in my constituency.
In Clackmannanshire, we are fortunate that individuals have committed to establishing food banks at The Gate in Alloa and the drop-in food bank run by Activ8 in Sauchie. I have to say a big thank you for the dedication and foresight of people such as Evelyn Paterson, Val Rose and Sandra Gruar, because without their commitment the situation in Clackmannanshire would be a whole lot worse, while in Kinross-shire and South Perthshire, part of my constituency, people such as Les Paskin, who manages the Perth and Kinross food bank, deserve our gratitude for a venture described by the Daily Record as a “Food lifeline for Crieff”.
I want to put on the record the level of support these operations are providing to my communities. Perhaps David Morris can listen and get some of the numbers now. In the first year of its existence, Perth and Kinross food bank provided 1,573 food parcels. That is three days’ food for 2,772 people, including 712 children, and the equivalent of 25,000 meals. The Gate has delivered 214 food packs, feeding 371 people with 7,745 meals between July and September of this year alone. At the end of October, it had supplied 21,700 meals to people in crisis in the preceding 10 months. That equates to a 35% increase in the number of people supported and a 50% increase in the number of meals supplied. The numbers show that 49% are due to benefit delay or sanction, a figure even greater than the 37% due to poverty or debt.