[Mr Clive Betts in the Chair] — Food Banks (Scotland)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 19th December 2012.

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Photo of Lindsay Roy Lindsay Roy Labour, Glenrothes 9:30 am, 19th December 2012

I agree wholeheartedly with my hon. Friend. I will cite examples from my constituency.

I commend highly the initiative, moral purpose, compassion and tenacity of those doing voluntary work in the face of adversity. I warmly welcome, too, the work of Citizens Advice Scotland, supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Tesco and the local authorities who are intervening to help. Collectively, they are trying valiantly to meet the desperate needs of many people who face genuine poverty—working families, those on benefit, pensioners and young people.

Charity and voluntary work is highly demanding, and usually rewarding when needs are met, but sometimes recently it has become a soul-destroying venture, because needs cannot be met even with all the resources in the local community and the good will it provides. Such volunteers are, in every respect, local heroes who contribute above and beyond the call of duty to address hunger and poverty that is sadly increasingly rife in our society. I pay tribute to those outstanding individuals and groups, who put service before self and make real differences to the lives of those in despair through poverty.

What a sad indictment of the Governments at Westminster and Holyrood that so many Scots are dependent on handouts and nobody has bothered even to gather statistics. I shall illustrate that later with a response from the Department for Work and Pensions.