20th April 2016


MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, Marion Fellows, visited the Basics Foodbank and Well Café run by volunteers at Motherwell Baptist Church to provide her support.

Basics Foodbank, has various distribution outlets throughout North Lanarkshire and operates a free drop-in café every week at the Church in Motherwell.

Marion recently hosted a Poverty Action Forum meeting which brought together many local charities and organisations that tackle poverty. Speaking at the Forum, Marion highlighted the importance of co-ordinating their actions for more effective results.

Accompanied by SNP election candidate, Clare Adamson, Marion attended the charity’s most recent drop-in café. During their visit, they learnt about the work and ongoing projects managed by the volunteers; some of whom are previous users of the charity’s services.

Commenting, Marion said:

“It is fantastic to see the local community pull together to support one another when people are in need. The volunteers are pillars of our community and must be recognised for their vital work.”

The day was a resounding success and Clare commented:

“Basics Foodbank are doing fantastic work and I am really pleased to be here today to support them.

“It is a terrible thing that, in the 21st century, food banks should be necessary at all and it is terrible what the UK government’s austerity policies together with benefit sanctions are doing to people.

“But it is also humbling to see the goodwill and dedication of local people who are prepared to try and right these wrongs through providing services such as Basics Foodbank. I commend them and wish them well in their efforts on behalf of the most vulnerable in our community.”

A recent report by the Trussell Trust found that Scotland has the highest foodbank use in the UK with 133,730 people receiving a three-day food parcel in 2015-16 – including 43,960 children.

North Lanarkshire referral rates shot up by 121% compared to last year, to more than 2,100 people. The most common reasons for referral were due to benefit delays as a result of the rolling out of Universal Credit at 27%; and also low incomes at 22%.

Marion added:

“The UK Government is failing our communities. The roll out of Universal Credit has been shambolic and working parents are still unable to earn enough to support their families. The so called ‘new living wage’ and persistent attacks on tax credits will do little to help this.

“Sanctions have also played a role. The Tories have created a clever system which makes it difficult for benefit claimants and seeks to trip them up leading to sanctions – all to save money. A system that is supposed to protect peoples’ welfare is directly attacking it.

“However, austerity could have been avoided had the super-rich paid their fair share of taxes rather than making our communities foot the bill.”