Huge increase in the use of foodbanks in North Lanarkshire

Marion Fellows and Clare Adamson join the volunteers in the Well Cafe
Marion Fellows and Clare Adamson join the volunteers in the Well Cafe

Motherwell and Wishaw MP Marion Fellows hailed the “community pulling together” after learning more than 2,000 people in North Lanarkshire were forced to use a foodbank last year.

A recent report by the Trussell Trust found that Scotland has the highest foodbank use in the UK with 133,730 people receiving a three-day food parcel in 2015-16 – including 43,960 children.

North Lanarkshire referral rates shot up by 121 per cent compared to the year before, to more than 2,100 people.

The most common reasons for referral were due to benefit delays as a result of the rolling out of Universal Credit at 27 per cent; and also low incomes at 22 per cent.

Mrs Fellows visited the Basics Foodbank and Well Café run by volunteers at Motherwell Baptist Church to provide her support.

Basics Foodbank, has various distribution outlets throughout North Lanarkshire and operates a free drop-in café every week at the church in Motherwell.

Mrs Fellows said: “It is fantastic to see the local community pull together to support one another when people are in need.

“The volunteers are pillars of our community and must be recognised for their vital work, however it is clear the UK Government is failing our communities.

“The roll out of Universal Credit has been shambolic and working parents are still unable to earn enough to support their families.

“The so called ‘new living wage’ and persistent attacks on tax credits will do little to help this, and the Tories clever system of sanctions means a system that is supposed to protect peoples’ welfare is directly attacking it.”

Mrs Fellows was accompanied by Motherwell and Wishaw SNP candidate Clare Adamson as they learned about the work and ongoing projects managed by the volunteers; some of whom are previous users of the charity’s services.

Ms Adamson said: “Basics Foodbank are doing fantastic work and I am really pleased to support them.

“It is humbling to see the goodwill and dedication of local people who are prepared to try and right the wrongs of the UK Government’s austerity programme through providing services such as Basics Foodbank.

“I commend them and wish them well in their efforts on behalf of the most vulnerable in our community, but, it is a terrible thing that, in the 21st century, food banks should be necessary at all.”