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Food bank demand rises as bills soar

Residents of Renfrewshire have been forced to turn to food banks after steep rises in gas and electricity prices pushed them deeper into poverty.

Renfrewshire Foodbank bosses say residents on the lowest incomes have been forced to find other ways to feed themselves after the cost of stratospheric increases in household energy.

Crystal Clayton, director of Renfrewshire Foodbank, confirmed the service has faced increased demand, saying: “We’ve seen a lot more people.”

She told the Express: “In terms of service, there has been a big increase in the number of people who have to rely on us for help and I don’t see that changing.

“It’s becoming a big problem for people on low incomes, with the price of fuel going up drastically, people are really struggling to keep themselves warm or to eat. I know that’s been said a lot, but it’s not just something we say.

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“If you put money in your meters, there’s nothing left for food.”

It comes after an Age Scotland revealed their figures suggest older people on fixed incomes will also be hit hard.

Their data shows that about 220,000 households nationwide will have insufficient income to cover the costs of food and beverages, rent, municipal taxes and utility bills.

Age Scotland has warned rising bills and rising costs of living will push older households into poverty and financial insecurity.

They are calling on Scottish, UK and newly elected local governments to take urgent action to help older people.

Age Scotland chief executive Brian Sloan said: ‘It’s outrageous that so many elderly households have no choice but to turn off their heating and reduce the amount of food they buy or risk going into debt due to unmanageable bills.

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“These debts will become increasingly difficult to settle as their fixed income spending continues to increase.

“There must be more than politicians can do to help, so now is the time to act, rather than waiting for life to get even worse for many more people.”

We told in February how community leaders in Paisley revealed they feared the area’s elderly were dying due to cost pressures.

Terry McTernan, of Ferguslie-based Darkwood Crew, said: “My real concern is that people are going to die because of this.

“We live in the West of Scotland, not the Costa Del Sol. People need to turn on their heating.”

Last week, SNP MP Gavin Newlands called the long-awaited Queen’s Speech a ‘lost opportunity’ and an ‘insult’ to beleaguered Renfrewshire households after the UK government took no action significant in the face of the cost of living crisis.

Downing Street is under increasing pressure to help ordinary people as inflation, rising food, fuel and household energy costs and stagnant wages, pensions and benefits take their toll.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has admitted his government could do more and Chancellor Rishi Sunak has been forced to defend his position amid claims he does not understand the challenges faced by ordinary households.

Paisley-based MSP Neil Bibby also called for urgent action to help struggling families.



MSP Neil Bibby

He said: “This news cannot be taken as surprising, but it is nonetheless saddening. Growing numbers of people are dependent on food banks while donations are falling due to the cost of living crisis.

“Something has to change to help families in need and to help them now. The SNP government has been slow to act and the Tory government is completely out of touch. Just the other day a Tory MP said the problem was that people couldn’t cook.

“What a staggering insult to the people who, in reality, are seeing the price of everything go up – food, gas, public transport, energy bills and more – while his government sits idly by. Sadly, pretty much the only things that aren’t” Wages and pensions are hardly rising enough. »

The West Scotland Labor politician added: “The problem is people can’t survive on low incomes when the cost of living is skyrocketing.

“The cost of living crisis is really biting now in Renfrewshire and should be obvious to all.

“There must be concerted action to revive the economy and help those in need with their household bills.”

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