FOODBANKS have handed out almost half a million emergency food parcels in Scotland over the last six years, according to new analysis by Scottish Labour.
Trussell Trust figures show that 488,766 three-day emergency food parcels have been distributed since 2011, with more than 150,000 going to children.
In order to receive supplies from foodbanks, individuals and families must be referred to them by health professionals, social workers and Citizens Advice staff.
The main reasons for people — whether in employment or not — needing to use foodbanks are benefit payment delays, sanctions imposed by the jobcentre and low wages.
The figures show that the number of food parcels handed out has been rising significantly year on year.
Some 5,726 went to the needy in 2011-12, but a staggering 145,865 were given away in the financial year that ended last month.
Scottish Labour said that its pledges to boost the minimum wage to £10 an hour and invest in local services would help tackle poverty, whereas further cuts by the Tory government at Westminster and the SNP administration in Edinburgh would drive more families into poverty and reliance on foodbanks.
The figures reveal the “brutal reality of two governments more obsessed with the constitution than delivering for working families,” Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said.
“In a country as wealthy as Scotland, it should shame the SNP and the Tories that working families can’t afford to feed themselves.”
Ms Dugdale said electing a Labour government in the general election would “end austerity” as her party would “invest in local services, abolish the bedroom tax and deliver a real living wage of £10 an hour.”
“That’s the difference a Labour government can make. Labour will focus on the day job, while the SNP obsesses with independence and the Tories drive us towards a hard Brexit,” she continued.
Ms Dugdale promised that every Scottish Labour MP elected to Westminster would “oppose austerity and fight for the best Brexit deal for Britain.”