Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has voiced his concern about rising foodbank usage in the Western Isles, after figures showed a 26% increase compared with last year.

Figures published by Britain’s biggest foodbank provider, the Trussell Trust, showed that 289 three day emergency food parcels were provided to people in crisis by foodbanks in the Western Isles between 1st April 2018 and 29th September 2018, compared with 229 for the same period in the previous year.

Across Scotland, foodbank use has risen by 15%. Foodbank providers have said the rise is largely due to the in-built minimum wait of five weeks for a first payment for those migrated to Universal Credit – with many more people forced to wait even longer than five weeks. The Trussell Trust has called for ‘urgent changes’ to Universal Credit, while the SNP have consistently called for a halt to the roll-out of the scheme.

Alasdair Allan commented:

“It’s incredibly concerning that foodbank usage in the Western Isles continues to rise. While the volunteers at the Stornoway and Balivanich foodbanks do incredible and selfless work, it is shameful that in a country as wealthy as Scotland these facilities are needed.

“With Universal Credit having recently been rolled out to the Western Isles there is real concern these figures could get even worse unless its many problems can be fixed, and cuts to it are reversed.

“Far from austerity being over - as was recently claimed - the UK Government’s austerity agenda continues to take its toll on struggling families.

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