A 62% increase in child food bank use is “horrifying” and should act as a wake-up call, campaigners have said.
The Trussell Trust has released data on use of its food banks during April this year, as the coronavirus crisis hit family incomes hard.
Compared with April 2019, Scottish food banks saw a 47% increase in the number of all people fed, along with a 62% increase in the number of children fed.
The increase was even greater elsewhere in the UK, including a 142% increase among all food bank users in Northern Ireland.
The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) said an immediate increase in welfare funds is needed.
CPAG director John Dickie said: “These new stats are horrifying and must act as a wake-up call to government at every level.
“No child should have to rely on charity food parcels yet thousands now are. These are families, in and out of work, that urgently need financial support to prevent the crisis that forces them to the food bank.
“The UK Chancellor must act with utmost urgency to increase family benefits, but here in Scotland ministers must also build on their welcome boost to the welfare fund with an immediate cash payment to all low income families and a commitment to extend free school meal cash replacements through the summer.”
The largest driver of food bank use was low income at 47.6%, with “sickness” being a factor in 10.6% of cases.
Overall, the Trussell Trust’s food banks saw an 89% increase in need and a 107% rise in food parcels handed out to children.
The Trust said government financial support measures “have
not been nearly enough to protect many from being swept into crisis.”