AN all-party parliamentary group has been set up to examine the soaring demand for foodbanks as the Prime Minister said the increase was due to the Government lifting a ban on JobCentre staff mentioning them to claimants.

David Cameron's official spokesman said ending the ban, operated under the previous administration, was "a very important reason" for the increased use of foodbanks.

Asked whether Mr Cameron would consider the call for an inquiry, the spokesman said: "It is always open to the House, select committees and the like, to look into issues."

Labour's Frank Field later said he was setting up an all-party parliamentary group with Tory MP Laura Sandys to discover the root causes behind the surge in demand.

It follows figures released by the Trussell Trust which found that the number of Scots relying on foodbanks had soared almost sixfold in the past year, from 4021 between April and September last year, to 23,073 this year.

The charity blamed cuts to the welfare system for the steep rise.

However, the Prime Minister's spokesman said: "It is this Government that has lifted the block on JobCentres being able to point people who are going through the JobCentre system in the direction of the type of additional assistance that foodbanks may provide."

He added: "The Prime Minister has numerous times on the record welcomed the role that foodbanks play in the community in providing additional assistance."

Mr Field said the all-party group would consider issues such as delays to benefit payments, benefit sanctions, low wages and high food prices.

"There is not just one cause," he said. "Clearly something very serious is happening at the bottom of our society."

Mr Field said causes included JobCentre staff handing out foodbank vouchers because they know the claimants will not receive payments on time.