Anger as foodbank use rises in Midlothian

Christine Grahame MSP
Christine Grahame MSP

SNP MSP Christine Grahame has slammed the UK government’s welfare cuts, after new figures from the Trussell Trust revealed that foodbank use in Midlothian has risen by 40 per cent in the past year.

Foodbank providers have said the rise is largely due to the in-built minimum wait of five weeks for a first payment for those migrated to Universal Credit – with many more people forced to wait even longer than five weeks.

Stock photo: Midlothian Foodbank in Gorebridge.

Stock photo: Midlothian Foodbank in Gorebridge.

Britain’s biggest foodbank provider, the Trussell Trust, has called for “urgent changes” to Universal Credit – while the SNP have consistently called for a halt to the roll-out of the scheme.

Ms Grahame said: “These are truly heart-breaking figures for Midlothian, which bring into sharp focus the devastating impact the Tory government is having on our local community. The fact that people cannot afford to eat is a disgrace in any circumstances, but we can see that in the previous year there have been 802 incidences where emergency food has been given to children specifically – this is an abomination in a developed country such as ours.

“We can see that, where Universal Credit has rolled out, which is the case in Midlothian, it has made things worse. The roll-out of UC must be halted, so the fundamental flaws can be addressed.

“I see the impact of Tory benefit cuts on a daily basis in my constituency, and the Tories have shown time and time again that they cannot be trusted with social security in Scotland. Only with full powers over social security can we begin to mitigate the effects of this disaster of a UK government, in order to make Scotland an equal country with a dignified and fair welfare system.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “An extra £4.5 billion was announced in the Budget to support claimants moving on to Universal Credit, including a two-week ‘run on’ for those on legacy benefits and increasing the amount people can earn on Universal Credit by £1,000 before payments start reducing.”