Food banks are not new. Food banks are not unique to Scotland. Food banks are not unique to the UK (e.g. Germany). I donate to food banks. If we look at who uses food banks, it is hard to see how they can disappear overnight. This short blog is about food banks in Scotland and their link with The Scottish Welfare Fund.
Scotland’s deputy first minister announced last year that a welfare fund had been set up to to help “the country’s most vulnerable people” – “The Scottish Welfare Fund”. The UK Government contributed £24m and Holyrood provided £9m. This money could be used to provide “crisis payments for those who could not afford to feed their children” due to benefit delays. So far, so good.
In September we heard that the money was not being spent as “many people who tell councils they have financial difficulties are advised to go to food banks – without being told about cash or voucher help available under the new £33m Scottish Welfare Fund.”. Not so good.
In October last year we heard that this money was still not getting to families. Sturgeon was urged to act. Did she?
In May last year the SNP Scot Government answered this question on their website:
Question: “Will you be sent to a foodbank if you apply to the Scottish Welfare Fund?”
SNP Gov Answer: “Possibly: For some Councils, the local foodbank is a part of the way they offer help through the Scottish Welfare Fund.“.
So rather than making payments to the needy, the SNP Gov are sending them to food banks. Why?
We now know that £4.3m of the The Scottish Welfare Fund has gone unclaimed last year. Why are families using food banks when this money is available to them? They are entitled to it! Even in Glasgow, 10% of the budget went unspent. Even charities have expressed concerns.