THE number of food bank parcels given out in Glasgow has soared by nearly 70% over the past five years.

New figures released today by Trussell Trust show that in the past year to March 31, its food banks handed out a total of 29,809 food parcels in the city - including 12,277 to children.

This is a rise of 67.3% on the same period five years ago.

At the same time, the number of food banks in Glasgow run by Trussell Trust has dropped to 14 from a high of 24 in 2016/17.

Across Scotland, new figures show the Trussell Trust’s network provided more than 197,000 food parcels to people facing financial hardship with more than 70,000 parcels were provided for children.

The need for emergency food dropped for the same period in 2019/20 when the pandemic saw support provided by more local and community-based food aid providers.

But it is still 31% higher when compared to the same period five years ago.

Glasgow Times: Emergency food parcels were given out in Scotland by Trussell Trust food banks

Food bank managers in Scotland are warning of an accelerating crisis following the cut to Universal Credit and as the cost of living continues to soar.  

Polly Jones, head of Scotland at the Trussell Trust, said: "We should all be free from hunger.

"No one should be pushed deeper into poverty without enough money for the things we all need.

"And yet people are telling us they’re skipping meals to feed their children and turning off the heating so they can afford internet access for their kids to do their homework. 

"This isn’t right – and food banks in our network are telling us this is only set to get worse as their communities are pushed deeper into financial hardship. "No one’s income should fall so dangerously low that they cannot afford to stay fed, warm and dry.  

"But there is still time for governments at every level to do the right thing, and ensure that people at the sharpest end of the crisis are able to afford the essentials we all need in life.

"That's why we are urging the UK government to make benefits realistic for the times we face, and calling on the Scottish Government to use its powers to do all it can to support people on the lowest incomes."

As Scotland faces a rapid rise in the cost of living and continues to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic, the charity says UK, Scottish and local governments need to do more.

With more than one in three people on Universal Credit in Scotland already skipping meals, the charity warns that people cannot afford to wait any longer for support.

Louise, 45, from North Lanarkshire, has mental health issues and is unable to work.

Louise, who asked to use her first name only, said: "I’m already struggling to make ends meet, so I’m especially worried about what the future looks like with food and energy prices going up.

"I’m already cutting back on food to put money into the electricity meter and being forced to make impossible decisions between heating and eating.

Glasgow Times:

"We need the government to treat people with dignity, because everyone should be able to put food on the table."

Although the energy price cap rise is only starting to bite, people are already struggling with soaring living costs.

While the uprating of some devolved benefits in Scotland by 6% last month was welcome, the charity says it was not enough.

As a first step, the Trussell Trust is calling for the UK government to, as a bare minimum, increase all benefits payments by at least 7%, so more people are able to afford the essentials we all need in life to get by.

It is also calling on local government to commit to develop an action plan to end the need for food banks, as local elections fast approach.