THE Tory government have been blasted as shocking new figures reveal cuts have led to a 63% rise in food bank parcels handed out in Scotland over five years.

The SNP described the new Trussell Trust figures as "dire reading" after the charity found food food banks in Scotland have handed out around 220,000 emergency food parcels between April 2020 and March 2021 – a parcel every two-and-a-half minutes. More than 77,000 of those parcels went to children.

Across the UK, the Trussell Trust network gave out a record 2.5 million emergency food parcels in the last year. More than 980,000 of these went to children – almost two parcels on average every minute, and a 128% rise compared to this time five years ago. It is the first time the number of food parcels distributed has topped two million.

SNP candidate for Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn, Bob Doris, called for Scotland to have more powers over the issue. He said: “Food banks, including the one run by Trussell Trust in my constituency, are working incredibly hard to continue to feed people unable to afford even the basics – but they cannot continue to pick up the pieces left as a result of the Tory government’s cuts and gaps in support.

“Even before the pandemic hit, a worrying number of families across the UK were struggling to get by because of a decade of Tory austerity. 

“The figures published today make for dire reading, and we must not forget that behind these statistics are families in desperate need of support."

READ MORE: Covid has ‘increased food insecurity in the UK’, new report finds

Doris referenced the Scottish Government's policies like the Scottish Child Payment, extending free school meals during holidays and fighting against the bedroom tax.

He went on: "But whilst employment powers and the vast majority of welfare spending remains reserved to Westminster, Scotland will always be tackling poverty and hunger with one hand tied behind its back.

"We cannot continue to wait for the UK Government – who dithered and delayed on extending free school meals and supporting low-income families through this pandemic – to act.

"Scotland’s future must be in Scotland’s hands - so we can build a better and fairer society. 

“With the limited powers we have, we have already built a social security system based on fairness, dignity and respect and are promoting a Real Living Wage."

Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said:  “No-one should face the indignity of needing emergency food. Yet our network of food banks has given out record numbers of food parcels as more and more people struggle without enough money for the essentials. 

"This is not right but we know we can build a better future. This pandemic has shown the unexpected can hit suddenly, but we know when we push for change, united by our desire for justice and compassion, the government has to listen and act.  

“We are asking you, the public, to write to your local candidates standing for election on 6 May, asking them to commit to working to end the need for food banks if elected.

"Together we can take action now to build a hunger free future.”