ALMOST 47,400 emergency food parcels were handed out in Glasgow last year as hand-outs across Scotland soared by 22%.

Figures described as “deeply troubling” by anti-poverty campaigners show that ten independent foodbanks collectively handed out 47,377 three-day packages between April 2018 and September 2019, around 2,600 a month or 86 a day.

Across Scotland, at least 586,723 parcels were distributed, which equates to 1,000 every day and compares to 480,583 in the previous 18 months.

Data collated by A Menu for Change and the Independent Food Aid Network.which represent 42 percent of the food bank picture in Scotland, was combined with Trussell Trust figures.

Between April 2018 and September 2019, 278,258 emergency food parcels were distributed by 91 of the 101 independent food banks operating in Scotland for which data was available.

The Trussell Trust reported a further 318,214 parcels were distributed by its network of 135 venues during the most recent period.

Shona Robison, SNP MSP , described the figures as a "national scandal."

Read more: Tears, kindness and anger: A day in the life of a Glasgow foodbank

She said: "The blame lies solely with the Tory party and the grim reality of cuts to benefits, delayed social security payments and sanctions on vulnerable people at every opportunity."

In December the Glasgow Times launched a donation campaign to help boost supplies over the festive period. More than 5000 bags were distributed to the city’s network of foodbanks.

Campaigners warned that the latest figures are only the tip of the iceberg because some will opt to skip meals or go without food instead of using a food bank.

A Menu for Change – the partnership between Oxfam Scotland, Nourish Scotland, the Poverty Alliance and the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland – and the Independent Food Aid Network called for immediate action by the UK government.

Their calls include restoring the value of key benefits, an end to the two-child benefit cap and a ban on zero-hours contracts.

Peter Fowler, Manager at Glasgow’s Storehouse Food Bank said: “More and more people in Glasgow are relying on emergency food parcels to put food on the table because benefit payments and low wages aren’t stretching far enough.

“No one should need a food bank in a country as rich as Scotland.

“Independent food banks are picking up the pieces all over Scotland, and these figures show that it’s getting worse. What people need is enough money to live on, not charitable food aid.”

Read more: Bank.On.Us foodbank campaign distributes more than 5000 bags to charities

Margaret MacLachlan, Project Manager, A Menu for Change said: “As we start a new decade, the relentless pressures forcing people to need emergency food aid continues.

“These figures are deeply troubling and reveal a grim picture of rising levels of food insecurity in Scotland.

“The long-term solution to food insecurity is not food banks, it is ensuring people have secure and reliable incomes. In 2020, we must do more to ensure we can consign food banks to the history books.

“Today’s statistics are shocking, but experts also warn that data on food parcel distribution only provides a partial picture of the number of Scots struggling to put food on the table with many choosing to skip meals rather than use a food bank. Recent Scottish Government statistics revealed nearly one in 10 people in Scotland were worried about running out of food in 2018.

“The new UK Government must act urgently to fix Universal Credit and uprate working-age benefits, but Scottish Ministers can and should act too by increasing the Scottish Welfare Fund, which has faced a real-terms cut in its budget since 2013.

“No one in rich Scotland should run out of money to buy food and political leaders must act now to prevent more people being dragged into poverty.”