A FOOD bank is to open in the Scottish Parliament – for one night only.

Politicians of all parties have been invited to attend the grocery-stacked store as anti-poverty campaigners present a play based on the lives of Scots food bank users.

Playwright Tara Osman was left frustrated when an earlier incarnation of the production was taken to the House of Commons, and “really only Labour MPs came”.

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Tonight she and campaigners from charity partnership A Menu for Change – which includes Oxfam Scotland, Poverty Alliance and more – give the play, titled Food Bank As It Is, its Scottish debut.

MSPs and guests attending will be welcomed with the offer of a cup of tea or coffee to replicate the experience of ordinary people seeking emergency supplies from food banks.

So far only SNP and Labour members have indicated they will attend the event, with Jeremy Balfour of the Tories sending his apologies.

The drama draws on testimonies of food bank clients in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Osman, a former food bank manager, says the theatre piece aims to achieve real change, especially around “the horrible narrative about people being scroungers and trying to cheat the system”.

She told The National: “It isn’t them and us – people who use food banks don’t look like they’re struggling or really poor, they look like everyone else. They may be working, they may be wearing suits. It’s hard to tell who is a volunteer and who is using the food bank.

“It’s hard to get a sense of what it is like if you just read a report. I want to help show the reality.”

The Scottish Government has pledged to use its new welfare powers to top up the incomes of families by 2022, but campaigners say ministers must act with far greater urgency to deliver on their promise through the forthcoming Scottish Budget.

The call comes after research revealed 52% rises in food bank use in parts of the UK where Universal Credit has been rolled out.

However, the Westminster Government disputes a link between the two.

Polly Jones, project manager of A Menu for Change, said the play has been designed to galvanise Scottish politicians to use all their powers to prevent people from facing hunger, as well as condemning policies made by the UK Government.

Jones said: “It’s appalling that in a rich country like Scotland, more and more people are turning to food banks because they don’t have enough money to buy food – a problem which is being exacerbated by the disastrous roll out of Universal Credit.

“There’s no question this is crisis driven by UK Government cuts but it’s important to remember that the Scottish Government isn’t powerless to tackle the effects of policies made at Westminster. If we’re going to avoid a winter of misery with countless people facing hunger then it’s time for ministers to live up to their promise to top up the incomes of hard up families across Scotland.”

The SNP’s Clare Adamson MSP, who has sponsored tonight’s event, said: “We have all seen the increase in food banks, with problems around austerity and Universal Credit. I find it absolutely abhorrent that food banks are necessary but it’s important that we understand the issues.”