Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

EWAN GURR: Scandal as Universal Credit leaves man less than £6 to live on for whole month

The Universal Credit letter.
The Universal Credit letter.

Imagine this: It is that point in the month when your income is due to drop into your bank account.

Expecting hundreds to be credited, you boldly approach the ATM and discover you only have £5.82 for the whole month.

What would you do? This was the case for one Universal Credit claimant with mental ill health who was sanctioned and had more than £300 seized, leaving him with less than £6 to survive.

The Universal Credit letter.

We once sanctioned foreign dictators but now we reserve that pleasure for people experiencing poverty.

I am becoming deeply troubled. In April, my former colleagues at The Trussell Trust announced the distribution of a record 1.6 million emergency food supplies to men, women and children across the UK.

In Scotland, annual provision reached 210,605 which, by comparison to other parts of the country, was a disproportionately high increase of 23%.

Just let that sink in – the amount of food provided by foodbanks in Scotland over the last year could have fed the entire city of Aberdeen for three days.

I do not like to use cataclysmic terms such as crisis to describe poverty but as Campbell Robb, the chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, correctly said in relation to these figures: “We are beyond the language of warning signs and wake-up calls.”

And The Trussell Trust is only one thread woven into a wider tapestry which includes the Independent Food Aid Network, Menu for Change, Food Power and many other strands stitched into the fabric of communities across the United Kingdom.

Foodbanks are the humble whistle-blowers to the crisis that is emerging in our midst but they are reaching breaking point.

They use social media to highlight shortages in supply and it is regularly filled with desperate pleas for items.

Many foodbanks tell me they receive less donated foods at supermarket collections now due to consumer uncertainty.

One customer apparently told foodbank volunteers at a supermarket that he is currently stockpiling food he would normally donate to the foodbank.

At a recent meeting, one voluntary organisation said it now has its own food cupboard for clients because its local foodbank has had to strictly apply limitations on how many times it gives food to individuals in a prolonged crisis due to a lack of available resources.

And, most tragically, I was sad to hear of a foodbank manager who recently collapsed on her shift and was taken to hospital in an ambulance due to sheer exhaustion at the volume of people coming through the door on a busy day.

Last week, bold action was announced to shift the curve on child poverty.

This week, Scottish parliamentarians go on a well-earned summer break.

When they return, it is crucial we, as a nation, turn our collective attention to the emerging crisis of food insecurity and ask how we might tilt the balance on this public health emergency.

Already a subscriber? Sign in



This article originally appeared on the Evening Telegraph website. For more information, read about our new combined website.