Weir praises food bank workers in House of Commons debate

The efforts of Angus foodbank workers has been praised by Angus MP Mike Weir during a debate in the House of Commons.

He also pointed out, however, that while the food banks do “fantastic work”, if they were no longer required no-one would be happier than those who do so much to make them work.

Mr Weir also called for urgent action to tackle the underlying causes, laid squarely at the Government’s door.

He said: “It is an absolute and utter disgrace that in a rich developed nation in the 21st century so many of our fellow citizens have to resort to food banks.

“In Angus the largest food bank is run by a group of churches, supported by the Trussel Trust. I have joined them on food collections and the dedication of their volunteers and the generosity of those who donate never ceases to amaze me – and it is often those who have little enough themselves who are most ready to help their fellow citizens.

“The rise in food bank use is down to rising need and the numbers are rising. In Scotland alone 51,647 people received a minimum three-day supply of food from a Trussel Trust food bank in the six months to September this year, an increase of 124 per cent from the same period last year and almost one third of those helped were children.

“The Trussel Trust expect that over the full year the numbers will rise to over 90,000.

“They say that only five per cent of those who come to them cite homelessness as the main cause of their crisis. Almost half - 46 per cent - cite benefit problems and a further 18 per cent cite low income – clearly the main issues are a direct result of the policies of the present government.”

He added that action on the low level of wages needs to be taken and praised the initiative of the Scottish Government in promoting a Scottish Living Wage.