David Mundell to open foodbank in Dumfries
Scotland’s only Conservative MP who has previously said he took tales of the hardship experienced by foodbank users “with a pinch of salt” is to open a new centre in Scotland this week.
Scottish secretary David Mundell will open a Trussell Trust foodbank at Apex Centre in Dumfries on Friday.
The centre is just yards from another foodbank run by the First Base Agency, which has criticised Conservative welfare policies which it said are directly contributing to poverty and foodbank use in Dumfries.
Mr Mundell has previously questioned claims of a link between food bank use and his party’s policy.
Speaking to Holyrood’s welfare reform committee in February, he said: “The three issues that are most commonly raised in relation to food banks are sanctions, delays in benefit payments and low income. I do not accept that those three issues are welfare reform issues.”
The Trussell Trust said that welfare reform is causing hardship for individuals and families, and that benefit changes are one of the underlying causes of poverty.
Ewan Gurr, Scotland network manager for the Trussell Trust, said: “Like many small rural towns, Dumfries has seen the impact of the rising cost of food and fuel, insecure nature of employment and welfare reform, which has created financial hardship for many individuals and families throughout the entire local authority of Dumfries and Galloway.
“The Trussell Trust is pleased to work with Apex Scotland given their shared commitment to partner with organisations working with people in crisis and complement the other food providers available in Dumfries-shire.”
The project will be based at the Apex centre in Dumfries and it will work with 26 local agencies
Fiona Dalgleish, centre co-ordinator at Apex, said that the project, which works with 26 local referring agencies to identify people in crisis, is expected to be very busy.
“The food bank in Dumfries will be an absolute necessity to support local people and help them break the cycle of poverty,” she said.
It is the second of two projects launched by Apex Scotland in partnership with The Trussell Trust.
In November 2013, Wigtownshire food bank opened its doors to the public and has since reached almost 600 people.