CONCERNS have been raised in Holyrood over the issue of several foodbanks in the Borders.

MSP Christine Grahame (SNP) pointed out the growing use of the foodbanks in recent years as a result of UK Government benefit changes, and the impact on child poverty in Holyrood’s debating chamber last week.

Whilst the vast majority of welfare powers remain at Westminster, the Scottish Government has stated its intention to eradicate the need for emergency food support in Scotland.

And it has already established a £1 million a year fair food fund, which supports people, in dignified ways, to reduce and remove reliance on emergency food.

Last week, it announced a further £1 million over the next two years to support children who face food insecurity during school holidays.

Ms Grahame, who represents Tweeddale and Lauderdale, said: “Firstly it must be said that the volunteers and donors who run these foodbanks, including of course those at Galashiels, Earlston and Peebles, do a fantastic job and are truly helping those in dire need.

“However, the fact that there are people in this day and age who cannot afford to eat is shameful and represents a damning indictment of the UK Government’s welfare system.

“The single biggest cause for people requiring food banks is issues with DWP benefits, be it delays in payments, sanctions or errors. The result is people being unable to afford life’s basic necessities – our foodbanks are handing parcels out even to children.

“Any welfare system that results in such an injustice is frankly no welfare system at all.

“The welfare system should exist to be a safety net for all of us and at present the Tory UK Government’s system is allowing the most vulnerable people, including those in the Borders, to slip through it.”