New report highlights gaps in social security are key cause of food bank use

A new report from Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) Scotland describes the experiences of six families in Scotland, and how gaps in the social security safety net are the key reason why people in Scotland are having to turn to food banks.

The report, published in association with the Trussell Trust and Oxfam Scotland, builds upon earlier UK-wide research – Emergency Use Only – which found that for between half and two thirds of food banks users interviewed, the immediate trigger for food bank use was linked to problems with benefits (including waiting for benefits to be paid, sanctions, problems with Employment Support Allowance) or missing tax credits.

The report uses the families’ experiences to highlight opportunities for the Scottish Government and local authorities to protect children at risk of income crises, by measures such as:

  • Investing in local income maximisation, benefits and debt advice;
  • Ensuring that affordable, reliable transport is available locally;
  • Removing financial barriers to local services such as schools and health services;
  • Facilitating access to emergency financial support like crisis grants;
  • Using future social security powers to be devolved to Scotland to boost family income;
  • Using public purchasing power and wider influence to improve the practice of employers.