THE rapid rise in three-day emergency food parcels in South Ayrshire is down to the introduction of Universal Credit, according to South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth.

Figures released by the Trussell Trust Foodbank show that between April 1 and September 30 this year 3,030 three day emergency food supplies were delivered by the foodbank within South Ayrshire.

This was an increase from 2,125 for the same period last year. Of the supplies this year, 2,208 were to adults and 822 supplies were delivered for children. This was an increase from the same period last year of 653 and 252 respectively.

The Trussell Trust has said that the rise in foodbank use, which is mirrored nationally, will not reduce until changes are made to Universal Credit. The charity is calling for the five week minimum wait until first Universal Credit payment to be reduced to prevent a sharp increase in demand for three-day emergency food supplies.

Colin Smyth MSP said: “The 43% rise in three-day emergency food parcels being delivered by the Trussell Trust across South Ayrshire in a single year shows the human impact of the UK Government’s Universal Credit.

“It is appalling that the Conservatives Government have ignored calls from charities to pause and fix Universal Credit to ensure that no claimant is pushed into poverty and financially worse off. These figures show that they were wrong to ignore those calls.”