The £10 a week payment for low-income families with children under six has been credited for lowering the need for food banks in Scotland compared to other parts of the UK. 

Scotland is the only area of the UK that has seen a marked decrease in the number of emergency food parcels from food banks in the Trussell Trust network in the past six months, compared to the same period in 2019. 

A total of 84,555 food parcels were distributed between April and September 2021 - including 29,989 to children - a drop of around 25% since 2019. 

While the need for food banks has dropped across the whole of the UK since 2020, other regions saw an increase since 2019. In London, emergency food parcel distribution has risen as much as 48%. 

The North West and Wales saw a modest decrease of 4 and 5% respectively. 


While Scotland appears to have seen a reduction in foodbank use by these figures - the number of people needing food parcels is equivalent to 460 a day in the past six months. 

Furthermore, 7% of people in Scotland say they used a food bank or similar service in the 30 days to mid-August 2021.

Scottish Welfare Fund (SWF) data shows that while the number of people applying for a crisis grant in the April-June period of 2021 is lower than the equivalent figure in 2020, but they remain significantly higher than the same period in 2019.

The Trussel Trust report stated: "Lower percentage increases should not necessarily be interpreted as demonstrating lower levels of need in these areas.

"Data collected by YouGov in the 30 days to mid-August 2021 amongst the UK population shows that, for instance, reported use of food banks in Scotland is not lower than the UK average and in fact may be slightly higher.

"This finding is reinforced when looking at the most recent data from the Food Foundation from August 2021.

"This survey found that levels of food insecurity in Scotland remained high (10.3%) and were comparable to Northern Ireland (11%) and Wales (12.6%). 

"Data from food banks in our network in Scotland does however remain an outlier in terms of being the only area of the UK to experience a significant (25%) decrease since the same period in 2019.


"Different policy interventions in Scotland to boost the income of people in receipt of social security may have impacted on the levels of need for food banks in this period. In February 2021, the Scottish Government introduced the Scottish Child Payment (SCP) to support eligible families with the costs of living.

"While we are yet to see evidence of the impact the SCP has had on supporting low-income families, previous research suggests that the increase in income for families with children who have accessed the payment could result in a decrease in the need for emergency food parcels. Significant evidence exists to show that increasing the value of benefits reduces overall levels of need for food banks."


In 2020-21 £57.5 million was also awarded to local authorities to help with those in crisis. 

Research from King’s College London, suggests a significant proportion of people in need in Scotland during the crisis have been supported by additional emergency food provision within their area too. 

As well as food banks, local councils have been distributing food parcels, as have other community organisations such as churches, football teams and mutual aid groups.

Number of emergency food parcels distributed by local authority in Scotland from April-Sept 2021 - Trussel Trust


Aberdeen City - 1,331

Aberdeenshire - 3,511

Angus - 1,572

City of Edinburgh - 8,974

Dumfries and Galloway - 1,142

Dundee City - 5,628

East Ayrshire - 1,490

East Dunbartonshire - 2,007

East Lothian - 3,494

East Renfrewshire - 1,839

Falkirk - 3,232

Fife - 5,941

Glasgow City - 14,237

Highland - 2,212

Inverclyde - 2,456

Midlothian - 2,665

Moray - 0

Na h-Eileanan Siar 0 

North Ayrshire - 1,029

North Lanarkshire - 1,900

Orkney Islands - 221

Perth and Kinross - 2,632

Renfrewshire - 3,375

Scottish Borders - 418

Shetland Islands - 431

South Ayrshire - 2,587

South Lanarkshire - 5,963

West Dunbartonshire - 0

West Lothian - 4,268