Food banks handed out fewer packages in East Ayrshire last year, according to new figures, with demand for emergency parcels remaining below pre-pandemic levels.

The Trussell Trust, a charity tackling poverty in the UK, supports the country’s largest network of food banks.

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, they have seen a dramatic increase in the number of emergency food parcels handed out to those in need nationally.

But figures from the charity suggest food bank use fell below pre-pandemic levels in East Ayrshire last year.

The Trussell Trust’s distribution centres handed out 5,770 emergency food parcels to people in East Ayrshire in the year to March – down from 8,643 the year before, and a decrease of 40 per cent on the 9,613 in the year to March 2020, before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In year to March 2021, 33 per cent – or 1,921 – of the parcels handed out in East Ayrshire were given to children, down from 3,426 in the year before the pandemic.

The DWP said that it recognises the pressures on the cost of living and is “doing what it can” to help, such as spending £22 billion across the next financial year to support people with energy bills and fuel duty.