An Angus politician has slammed the spiralling need for foodbanks in the county.
Angus North and Mearns MSP Mairi Evans spoke out during an emotional speech at the Scottish Parliament on the rising need for foodbanks across Scotland — with usage reaching record levels in Angus last year.
Ms Evans praised the new Brechin Community Pantry during a debate on foodbanks, which heard more than 25% of Scotland’s children are classed as living in poverty.
But she insisted the UK Government must tackle the issue of child poverty by avoiding cuts to the benefits system.
She said: “In Angus, figures were published in the past week that shows that emergency food supplies had to be provided to 2,771 adults and 824 children last year.
“This is an all-time high and an increase of 917 on the previous year.
“The Trussell Trust has stated that the biggest increases have been seen in areas where Universal Credit has been rolled out.
“The simple fact is we have a social security system that has been so utterly ravaged that it is no longer the safety net it was designed to be.
“Instead, it humiliates and dehumanises the very people it is supposed to help.
“Over the past few years the Tory-led UK Government have introduced the seriously flawed Universal Credit system, the bedroom tax, benefit sanctions, cuts to Employment Support Allowance, a freeze on working-age benefits, and a complete cut to housing benefits for 18 to 21-year-olds.
“The family element of child tax credits has been removed, there have been cuts to bereavement benefits, and the new PIP system has seen many of those transferring to it from the Disability Living Allowance lose their entitlement altogether, with only 42% of new claimants get any sort of award.”
A spokesman for the DWP defended the Universal Credit system, which collapses all benefits into one and is being rolled out across the UK.
He said: “The majority of UC claimants are confident in managing their money and we work closely with local authorities to support those who need extra help.
“Budgeting support, benefit advances, and direct rent payments to landlords are available to those who need them.”