“It is disgraceful that the so called benefits system is putting more people in need rather than actually helping those who need support”, said Councillor Kenny MacLaren (SNP – Paisley Northwest), responding to news from the Trussell Trust that the number of food parcels being handed out jumped by 18% compared to last year, with almost half (49%) of referrals being linked to benefit delays caused by Universal Credit.
Locally, Renfrewshire Foodbank provided 10,221 three day emergency food parcels to local people between April 2018 to March 2019. Of this number, 2,824 went to children. This local foodbank has highlighted that they had to give emergency food and support to people who are waiting at least five-weeks for a first Universal Credit payment or receiving payments that don’t cover the cost of essentials.
Councillor Kenny MacLaren added:
“Renfrewshire foodbank do a great job and their volunteers go above and beyond the call of duty to help those in dire need. However, we live in one of the richest nations in the world, with even more oil resources discovered that in any other country would mean a better standard of living for all.
“Just yesterday the First Minister highlighted her intention of calling for a Scottish Independence Referendum before 2021 and the usual British Nationalist voices of despair attacked her and told her to get on with the day job – well this is exactly why we need independence.
“The welfare system in the UK is not fit for purpose – making people wait 5 weeks for their benefits is cruel and heartless, it is driving people into poverty and it is left to charities like the Trussell Trust or local councils to cover the gap.
“The UK political establishment has got itself into a mess over Brexit and has ignored the growing problems of poverty – some of it created by the UK parties who support Universal Credit or who deny women over 50 their state pension.
“Change to a fairer society won’t happen while we’re part of the UK. We need the full powers of an independent nation so that all people are fully supported. We need a welfare system that supports not punishes those in need. No one in Renfrewshire – or Scotland – should have to rely on a foodbank to feed their family and with Independence we can make sure that happens.”