THOUSANDS of emergency food parcels were handed out to local families within just six months as the number of people struggling to make ends meet continues to grow.

Latest figures released by the Trussell Trust show 4,707 parcels were supplied in Renfrewshire between April 1 and September 30 this year, with a further 2,247 distributed in East Renfrewshire.

About 1,400 of Renfrewshire’s emergency supplies went to children, with more than 800 provided to East Renfrewshire kids.

The main reasons cited for people needing emergency food were low benefit income and delays or changes to benefits being paid, with the controversial rollout of Universal Credit having a negative impact.

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Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur, whose constituency stretches from Johnstone to Barrhead, said: “Foodbank organisers and volunteers are dedicated and compassionate individuals but, let’s be clear, they should not be needed.”

The Trussell Trust, which supports a nationwide network of foodbanks, is calling for politicians of all parties to make a General Election pledge to protect people from hunger by ensuring everyone has enough money for basics.

The Gazette: Tom Arthur says foodbanks should not be needed Tom Arthur says foodbanks should not be needed

Emma Revie, the charity’s chief executive, said: “More people than ever before are being forced to foodbanks’ doors. Our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty but thousands of women, men and children are not receiving sufficient protection from destitution.

“This is not right but we know this situation can be fixed. 

We want our next government to work towards a future where no-one needs a foodbank by ending the five-week wait for Universal Credit, ensuring benefit payments cover the cost of living and investing in local emergency support for people in crisis.”

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