THE level of public spending on the coronation “flies in the face of logic” during the cost of living crisis, food bank organisers have said.

As an estimated £100 million was spent on lavish celebrations to officially crown King Charles III, for services in Scotland which offer support for people struggling to afford the basics, it was business as usual.

A steady stream of people arrived at Glasgow South East food bank on Friday afternoon, with volunteers busy distributing bags of toilets rolls, tinned and fresh food, shampoo and other essential items.

Manager Audrey Flannagan said demand has risen in the 12 years since the service, which is part of The Trussell Trust network, first opened its doors.

“In the first year, it was very quiet and we fed around 700 people,” she said. “This past year, we have fed 11,500. It’s been continually going up and up all the time.”

There was plenty of community spirit around, from the many volunteers who help run the service to fresh curries brought by Glasgow Gurdwara in Pollokshields.

The National: Glasgow South East food bank volunteer Donald Brtton.  STY SUN NAT.. Pic Gordon Terris Herald & Times..5/5/23.

Flannagan said there were days when it was possible to share a laugh with the clients and enjoy a chat.

But she added: “There are other days you would go up the road and cry. And there are other days you are really angry.

“This morning I was inputting some information and found a referral for a 75-year-old lady.

“Why have I have got a 75-year-old coming to the food bank? That is appalling. It was just to do with the cost of essentials rising, she is just struggling.”

What can aid in reducing demand for help is enabling people to have more cash in their pockets, Flannagan said, with the Universal Credit uplift during the pandemic and the Scottish Child Payment both having a positive impact.

A fuel day held just before Christmas saw free heated blankets handed out and tips on how to reduce energy bills – such as boiling a kettle once then keeping the water in flask to use for the morning.

Support has also been offered to help those struggling to find enough money for prepayment meters and afford showers or to run their washing machine.

Flannagan said: “Why have we got people that can’t afford to wash their clothes or people who can’t afford to wash their hair? This is a nonsense.”

Ahead of the coronation, a post has been circulating on social media which reads: “Dear rest of the world. Don’t be fooled by any propaganda you see coming out of the UK this weekend. The mood here is not jubilant, it is sour.

“England is a fascist nightmare, where there are more food banks than branches of McDonalds.

We don’t want pageantry, we want affordable food, and rent, and bills.

“The timing of this coronation, with all its gold and bejewelled opulence, couldn’t be more distasteful and sickening. It’s unjustifiable and it’s unwanted.”

Sabine Goodwin, co-ordinator of the Independent Food Aid Network, said: “As the impact of the cost of living crisis deepens, the level of public spending on the coronation flies in the face of logic.

“Independent food bank teams across Scotland are struggling to cope with relentless increases in demand.

“Our governments’ first priority must be to increase people’s incomes through social security payments and fair wages.

“Turning a blind eye to a desperate poverty crisis, pushing more and more people into destitution, is causing irrevocable damage to people’s health and society as a whole.”

Another food bank in Glasgow for Carntyne and Riddrie is open six days a week, supplying food and other essentials to around 550-600 people in the local area.

One volunteer cooks home-made meals such as meatballs, sausage and mash and chicken pie to meet rising demand for food that can be reheated in the microwave so that it saves on energy costs.

In this constituency, the average life expectancy for men is one of the lowest in Scotland at 71.96 years – two years less than the age of King Charles now.

John Lyons, founder of Carntyne and Riddrie food bank, said: “People that are on benefits cannot afford the prices of what they are paying now.

“I wish we didn’t need to exist. We will just meet the challenge until it is no longer required.”

Asked what would help to solve the crisis, he responded: “Get rid of the 2% that hold the wealth and redistribute it.”

As many enjoy the coronation bank holiday tomorrow, the food bank will be open as normal.

“Unfortunately, poverty does not take a day off,” Lyons added.