Food Banks (Emergency Food Parcels)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 28th March 2019.

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Photo of Gillian Martin Gillian Martin Scottish National Party

This week, the Instant Neighbour charity published startling figures on a stark increase in the number of people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire receiving emergency food parcels from food banks, with 12 independent food banks distributing more than 27,000 parcels in the past 18 months. Why have we seen such an increase, and what could be done to prevent the rise in food bank use in an area in which everyone should be thriving?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

The latest data showing the number of food banks and the number of emergency food parcels shows numbers that are far too high. The Scottish Government promotes an approach to tackling food insecurity that has dignity at its heart. We support FareShare, for example, to help build better community resilience. As I said in response to Richard Leonard, we are doing everything that we can to mitigate the impact of the welfare cuts and austerity imposed on Scotland, which are the driving factors behind the increase in food bank use.

In answer to Gillian Martin’s question, that is the reason for the increase. The Scottish Government will do everything that we can to mitigate it, but the sooner that we can tackle the issues at source by taking the decisions here in our own Parliament, the better.