MP warns of Brexit rush which could over­whelm Fife food­banks.

Les­ley Laird says strug­gling fam­i­lies could be pushed to the brink by soar­ing food bills

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - CH­ERYL PEE­BLES cpee­[email protected]­

A Fife MP has warned the re­gion’s food­banks could be flooded by hun­gry fam­i­lies if gro­cery bills soar un­der a no-deal Brexit.

Les­ley Laird said peo­ple in her Kirk­caldy and Cow­den­beath con­stituency were al­ready strug­gling to feed their fam­i­lies and many more could be crip­pled by ris­ing prices.

She is among a list of MPs who have signed a cross-party let­ter to Theresa May ahead of to­mor­row’s vote in the Com­mons, call­ing on her to rule out leav­ing the Euro­pean Union with­out a deal.

The let­ter also warns that man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs, on which Fife and other re­gions rely, would be put at im­me­di­ate risk.

The British Re­tail Con­sor­tium has pre­dicted that un­der a no-deal exit the cost of im­port­ing food could rise by up to 32%.

Anal­y­sis sug­gested res­i­dents in Kirk­caldy and Cow­den­beath, north-east

A no-deal Brexit would neg­a­tively im­pact busi­nesses and res­i­dents right here on our doorstep and it’ll be the poor­est who suf­fer most. LES­LEY LAIRD

Fife and Glen­rothes con­stituen­cies could spend be­tween 1.1% and 4.4% more on food, with the rise be­tween 1% and 4.1% in Dun­fermline and west Fife.

Labour mem­ber Mrs Laird said: “While that in­crease could be ab­sorbed by some house­holds, the ef­fects of a price hike on peo­ple strug­gling fi­nan­cially could be crip­pling.”

She said the fig­ures showed peo­ple in the low­est 10% in­come bracket could end up hav­ing to spend £28.50 more on food a week.

That equates to food ac­count­ing for 14% of all spend­ing.

Mrs Laird said: “Far too many fam­i­lies in Kirk­caldy and Cow­den­beath al­ready strug­gle to put food on the ta­ble as it is and a no-deal could re­sult in food­banks flooded with new re­fer­rals.

“This is un­ac­cept­able and that’s why the ur­gent pri­or­ity right now must be to en­sure a no-deal is ruled out.

“A no-deal Brexit would neg­a­tively im­pact busi­nesses and res­i­dents right here on our doorstep and it’ll be the poor­est who suf­fer most.”

Kirk­caldy Food­bank, one of sev­eral food­banks op­er­at­ing through­out Fife, has seen de­mand for its parcels soar in re­cent months.

It said that over the last year a third of those it helped were chil­dren.

Chair­woman Joyce Leg­gatte re­cently told a Holy­rood com­mit­tee that she of­ten saw chil­dren so hun­gry they ripped open pack­ets and be­gan eat­ing be­fore they had even left.

Pic­ture: Wul­lie Marr Pho­tog­ra­phy.

Vol­un­teers at a food­bank pack­ing sta­tion in Dysart.

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