RENFREWSHIRE Foodbank has issued a plea for donations to help people who are struggling following the introduction of Universal Credit.

Administered by the Department of Work and Pensions, Universal Credit was introduced in Renfrewshire in September.

The new benefits system replaces housing benefit, income support, income-based jobseekers allowance, income-related employment and support allowance, child tax credits and working tax credits with a single monthly payment.

READ MORE: Benefit changes are set to spark huge rise in Renfrewshire Foodbank demand

However, research by Trussell Trust has shown there has been a 52 per cent increase in demand at foodbanks in areas where the new system has been in place for 12 months.

Elizabeth Alexander, manager of Renfrewshire Foodbank, said: “There has been a big increase in demand at foodbanks in areas where Universal Credit has been in place for a year and there’s no reason to suspect Renfrewshire is going to be any different.”

The foodbank, which took in 97 tonnes of donations last year, is now running low on certain items and it has asked people to donate what they can to help.

Items it particularly needs include long-life juice, tinned potatoes, tinned tomatoes, tinned fruit, tinned fish, tinned custard, rice and toiletries. Money can also be donated.

Elizabeth said: “We are looking for donations. Anything people can give will help us support those who are struggling in Renfrewshire.

“We would not be able to do what we do without the people of Renfrewshire. They never fail us. If we are short, they always respond. They are so generous.”

Earlier this month, councillors in Renfrewshire approved plans to give the foodbank £30,000 worth of funding over three years in a bid to reduce the impact of Universal Credit.

The money will come from the council’s Tackling Poverty Programme.

READ MORE: Creep groped teenage girl as she waited in school dinner queue

Councillor John Shaw, Renfrewshire’s finance, resources and customer services convener, said: “The introduction of Universal Credit has put a lot of additional pressure on foodbanks across Scotland and the UK.

“This is a particularly challenging time of year for many. If you can donate to the foodbank, please do. Anything you can do to help will make a difference to families who are struggling.”