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Food Banks

Volume 560: debated on Tuesday 12 March 2013

I rise to present a petition signed by hundreds of my constituents, who, like me, are concerned about the increasing number of food banks up and down the country and about the fact that the number of people visiting food banks has increased dramatically since last year. I visited a food bank in my constituency, the i58 project, run by a local church, and was astounded to find out that it had dealt with more than 1,000 people since last September. It assumed that demand for assistance would peak around Christmas, but that has not happened, and the numbers have continued to escalate. It was asked to sign this petition on the ongoing problems facing constituents having to attend food banks to make it through the week on their low incomes or benefits. The petition states:

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Scotland Office and Department for Work and Pensions to work together to ensure there is an accurate count of the number of people using food banks in Scotland and that the Government take action to ensure that no families in the UK go hungry.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The Petition of Inverclyde Constituents,

Declares that the Petitioners believe that as a result of the failings of both the Holyrood and Westminster Governments 13 million people live below the poverty line in Britain today; further that the reliance on food banks has dramatically increased in recent years with The Trussell Trust calculating that in 2011–12 food banks fed 128,687 people in the UK, an increase of over 100 per cent on the previous year. Excellent work is being undertaken throughout the country by national and local food bank providers to fill the void left by the failings of the Holyrood and Westminster Governments; however as one of the world's wealthiest countries we believe UK Citizens should not find themselves in this position.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Scotland Office and Department for Work and Pensions to work together to ensure there is an accurate count of the number of people using food banks in Scotland and that the Government take action to ensure that no families in the UK go hungry.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.]

[P001161]

This petition has arisen as a result of the growing number of food banks in the UK and the growing number of people in the UK in the 21st century having to resort to them to feed themselves and their families. I pay tribute to the organisations that run food banks, such as the Trussell Trust, but particularly to the Gate, which operates a food bank in Alloa, and to Activ8 and WISH—women in sport and health—which do likewise in Sauchie, both in my constituency, and for which I am running the Alloa half-marathon on Sunday. Two weeks ago at Prime Minister’s questions I asked the Prime Minister to sign the petition, but despite his agreement to look at it and two e-mails to No. 10 since, I am still waiting.

More than 200 of my Ochil and South Perthshire constituents have signed the petition, which states:

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Scotland Office and Department for Work and Pensions to work together to ensure there is an accurate count of the number of people using food banks in Scotland and that the Government take action to ensure that no families in the UK go hungry.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The Petition of Ochil and South Perthshire,

Declares that the Petitioners believe that as a result of the failings of both the Holyrood and Westminster Governments 13 million people live below the poverty line in Britain today; further that the reliance on food banks has dramatically increased in recent years with The Trussell Trust calculating that in 2011–12 food banks fed 128,687 people in the UK, an increase of over 100 per cent on the previous year. Excellent work is being undertaken throughout the country by national and local food bank providers to fill the void left by the failings of the Holyrood and Westminster Governments; however as one of the world’s wealthiest countries we believe UK Citizens should not find themselves in this position.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Scotland Office and Department for Work and Pensions to work together to ensure there is an accurate count of the number of people using food banks in Scotland and that the Government take action to ensure that no families in the UK go hungry.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.]

[P001163]

I, too, wish to present a petition on food banks on behalf of my constituents. The signatures were collected in the centre of Leith, a part of my constituency where, according to the latest figures, up to 30% of the population are income deprived and below the poverty line. Unsurprisingly, it is also where Edinburgh’s latest food bank is being set up. I pay tribute to those in the community who are helping to set it up and deal with the growing crisis of hunger that is affecting so many of our citizens, particularly families with children. Those setting up the food bank, like those who signed the petition, also want the UK and Scottish Governments to take action to ensure that no families go hungry.

The petition states:

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Scotland Office and Department for Work and Pensions to work together to ensure there is an accurate count of the number of people using food banks in Scotland and that the Government take action to ensure that no families in the UK go hungry.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The Petition of Edinburgh North and Leith Constituents,

Declares that the Petitioners believe that as a result of the failings of both the Holyrood and Westminster Governments 13 million people live below the poverty line in Britain today; further that the reliance on food banks has dramatically increased in recent years with The Trussell Trust calculating that in 2011–12 food banks fed 128,687 people in the UK, an increase of over 100 per cent on the previous year. Excellent work is being undertaken throughout the country by national and local food bank providers to fill the void left by the failings of the Holyrood and Westminster Governments; however as one of the world’s wealthiest countries we believe UK Citizens should not find themselves in this position.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Scotland Office and Department for Work and Pensions to work together to ensure there is an accurate count of the number of people using food banks in Scotland and that the Government take action to ensure that no families in the UK go hungry.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.]

[P001162]