OVER 1,500 people in East Ayrshire are reliant on foodbanks following the rollout of Universal Credit, according to Britain’s biggest foodbank charity.

The Trussell Trust have warned that foodbank use in Scotland has risen by 15 per cent in the five months prior to September due to the failed benefits system with claimants forced to wait at least five weeks for a first payment.

The charity have also highlighted that, on average, foodbanks see a 52 per cent increase in demand 12 months after Universal Credit goes live in an area.

Families in Cumnock and Doon Valley are among the 1,548 in East Ayrshire reliant on foodbanks – 472 of which are children.

Kilmarnock and Loudoun MP Alan Brown has criticised the UK Government for pursuing the policy.

He said: “These figures are extremely alarming and just further highlight the ridiculousness of the full process.

“It is unacceptable in today’s society we have more than 1,500 people in East Ayrshire alone, being forced to eat out of foodbanks – with nearly 500 of that number being children.

“Day in day out we see the impact of Universal Credit in my office, it is not fit for purpose.

“All the statistics confirm that foodbank usage goes up with the roll out as does rent arrears. Worse, the National Audit Office has confirmed there is no mechanism for assessing the Tory claims that it helps people into work.

“I know constituents getting themselves into rent arrears, and landlords struggling because the rent is not being paid. The local council has seen an increase in rent arrears as well, which impacts on money available for running and investing in the council housing stock.”