Welfare changes have seen a 120% rise in people using the Dundee foodbank.
Figures from the Trussell Trust reveal the foodbank has seen more than 1,000 people accept donations between April 1 and July 31 2013, compared to the same period last year.
In all, 1,958 people, including 465 children, used the charitable facility this year, compared to 887 for the same period in 2012.
The startling figures reflect the growing use of foodbanks across Scotland, with 8,000 more people using their services around the country a 400% increase on figures from the same period last year.
According to the Trussell Trust, which oversees 345 foodbanks across the UK, the dramatic increase reflects the massive impact of welfare reforms introduced this April.
“The reality is that there is a clear link between benefit delays or changes and people turning to foodbanks, and that the situation has got worse in the last three months,” said the trust’s executive chairman Chris Mould.
“Since April’s welfare reforms we’ve seen more people referred to foodbanks because of benefit delays or changes,” he said.
More than 700 of those who used the Dundee foodbank were referred by the Scottish Welfare Fund, which has halted its issuing of crisis loans, the trust said.
Across Scotland, more than 50% of referrals made to foodbanks so far during this financial year have been directly attributed to benefit delays and benefit changes, according to the trust.
“We are calling on the government to listen to what’s happening on the ground, to realise that when the welfare system breaks down, it means families go hungry,” Mr Mould said.
The Rev David Robertson, a Free Church of Scotland minister, believes that the increased figures reflect that the Government has got its priorities wrong.
“We’re not talking here about people who have just come off the street. These are people who are being referred and have a genuine need,” he said.
“I think the fact that that increase in the use of the foodbank has taken place shows the real impact of the cuts.
“It ties in with my argument that the Government is creating a culture of dependency for the wealthy.
“How can they be subsidising childcare for a family on £300,000 a year while people are going hungry and being thrown out of their homes?
“It is the politics of privilege and the economics of madness.”
Responding to the claim welfare changes had caused an increase in foodbank use, Lord Freud, parliamentary under secretary of state for welfare reform, said in Parliament last week: “We have made no assessment of the Trussell Trust statement. Jobcentre Plus signposts people to foodbanks but does not keep records of the number of referrals.
“The Trussell Trust states that only 2% of their referrals come via Jobcentre Plus.
“Benefit processing times have been steadily improving over the last three years with 90% of Jobseekers Allowance and 85% of employment support allowance claims cleared within 16 days.”
Despite the increases, organisers were also keen to stress the generosity of Dundee citizens in donating non-perishable food. The Dundee foodbank has received a massive 39.4 tonnes of donated food, of which 29.7 tonnes has been given away.
And 6.5 tonnes of food was recently collected at three Tesco stores in Dundee over two days, which the trust described as a “great effort”.
Dave Morris, manager of the Dundee foodbank, said: “While it is really sad and horrendous to see people in need, it is also amazing to be able to meet that need.
“Dundee has really come together. This week for example we had a collection at the three Asda stores where received 1.7 tonnes of food.”