14 January 2020

Food Matters

A Happy New Year to everyone!

Unfortunately, the decade has begun with more of the same disappointment from the Conservatives in power. News broke this week that food parcel usage has soared across Scotland.

I’m not sure when the Tories will wake up, but urgent action from the UK Government is critical as foodbank use reaches crisis point across the North East. Almost 600,000 food parcels were handed out in Scotland over 18 months seeing a 22% rise.

It’s a sign of the times that people are dependent on food donations in a rich country – and an indictment on welfare reform which has left people with no other choices.

The need to remove the unfair two-child limit and benefit cap has never been more urgent.

The UK Government must take tangible steps to reversing austerity from an increase in the National Living Wage, an uprate of all benefits in line with inflation, and a ban on zero-hours contracts.

In stark contrast to Westminster austerity, the Scottish Government has been working to develop a social security system with dignity and fairness at its heart – introducing a raft of benefits to provide much needed financial support to low-income families, including a brand new benefit which will provide eligible families with £10 a week for every child under 16 by 2022.

While food banks such as the ones in Peterhead and Macduff do an excellent job of providing support for those who need it, the fact that they even exist is a damning result of UK Government policies which are actively driving people into desperate situations.

The UK government needs to wake up to the cost of this crisis and stop shunning responsibility before more families and children are pushed into poverty.

Stewart Stevenson
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