Faced with soaring Universal Credit related foodbank referrals ahead of Christmas, housing associations across Scotland are keeping stocks coming.
And the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) is leading from the front, having encouraged members to take part in its Food Bank Advent Appeal donating to their local food banks.
Sally Thomas, SFHA chief executive, said: “Across Scotland, the continued roll-out of Universal Credit is having serious consequences.
“The six-week wait for payment is leading some people to struggle to pay their housing costs or to feed themselves, and food bank referrals are set to soar over the Christmas period.”
Though new measures in November’s Budget aimed at addressing Universal Credit’s issues – including reducing the six-week wait period to five-weeks from February – SFHA says the ‘welcome’ changes will have no effect on people who are currently receiving Universal Credit or those who will move on to it before the new measures are implemented.
Thomas said: “Our members provide homes for some of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable people who bear the brunt of welfare reform policies.
“We launched our Food Bank Advent Appeal to highlight the continued effects of policies, such as Universal Credit, and their link to soaring food bank use, which was demonstrated by the Trussell Trust earlier this year.
“We have been delighted by how our members and SFHA staff responded to the appeal and hope the donations help to ease some of the burden on food banks and the people who access their services this Christmas.”
John Ratcliffe, manager, Trussell Trust’s Glasgow City Centre Foodbank, said: “We’ve seen a big increase in the use of our food bank in the last few months of 2017.
“There are a lot of desperate people, unable to put food on the table, and we are only able to meet the need through donations such as these.”