LEVELS of food poverty in East Renfrewshire have been branded “shameful” by a worried MSP.

Figures released by The Trussell Trust, which operates a network of foodbanks, show it distributed a total of 1,839 food parcels to people in the local area during the six months from April to September last year.

Of that total, 658 were handed to children.

West Scotland MSP Neil Bibby said the extent of food poverty in East Renfrewshire is “unacceptable.”

The Labour man has also warned that cuts to Universal Credit imposed by the UK Government will push families further into poverty.

He is calling on fellow MSPs to support the ‘Right to Food’ Bill proposed by his Labour colleague Rhoda Grant, which would enshrine the right to food in Scots Law.

Mr Bibby, whose West Scotland remit includes East Renfrewshire, told the Barrhead News: “There is no reason at all why anyone should be going hungry in a wealthy nation like Scotland.

“The evidence is clear. These appalling figures show how many families in East Renfrewshire are relying on foodbanks to get by.

“We simply cannot stand back and allow this situation to continue.

“If we have the political will, we can end food poverty by enshrining it as a human right in Scots Law. This will send a powerful message that we are serious about tackling the scourge of food poverty and force us into action.”

The Scottish Government said it has a “human rights approach” to tackling food poverty.

A spokesperson added: “We prioritise action to prevent poverty and promote cash-first responses to hardship so that people have sufficient income to access food that meets their needs and preferences.

“There are early indications that this approach is making a difference, with the Trussell Trust reporting a marked reduction in the number of emergency foodbank parcels in Scotland between April and September 2021 compared to 2019.

“In October, we announced a £41million Winter Support Fund for low-income households to help people struggling financially this winter. The fund includes £25million to local authorities which they can use flexibly to respond to emerging local need, with a strong emphasis on cash-first responses.”