Food Poverty: Scotland

Part of Delegated Legislation – in the House of Commons at 8:05 pm on 7th May 2019.

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Photo of Hugh Gaffney Hugh Gaffney Labour, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill 8:05 pm, 7th May 2019

Yes, I do agree. In fact, I was in Bellshill West Parish Church last week and spoke to the ladies who are involved in this work in the community. These are people who are not recognised as helpers, but they do a tremendous job helping out to fill the gaps—no, they do more than that.

I wish that we did not have to live in a country where food banks are needed in constituencies such as mine across the country. NHS Health Scotland recognises that food banks are a symbol of a food poverty crisis in Scotland. It states that

“the existence of emergency food aid provision reflects the growth of chronic severe food poverty.”

The Trussell Trust is the single largest food bank provider in Scotland. It distributed more than 170,000 food parcels in 2017-18, which meant that Scotland received the second highest number of food parcels distributed in the UK by the Trussell Trust. In their recent research, the Independent Food Aid Network and A Menu for Change also examined the role of independent food bank providers in Scotland. They found that the Trussell Trust and the independent food banks collectively distributed more than 480,000 food parcels across Scotland in 2017-18. Let me repeat that figure—480,000 food parcels across Scotland.

In North Lanarkshire, 27,000 food parcels were distributed by food banks in 2017-18. The Trussell Trust also revealed that 5,000 of those food parcels were three-day emergency supplies. I want to send my best wishes to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the birth of their baby boy, but have to reflect on the fact that there are many children in my constituency who will not enjoy the same chances in life and who are living in food poverty.