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
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.
Volunteers at a foodbank packing station in Dysart.