Scottish food bank requests more than double
A charity that provides emergency food banks says the number of people using them in Scotland more than doubled last year.
The Trussell Trust said 14,318 people were helped during 2012-13, up from 5,726 the previous year.
It said almost a third of these cases were children.
There are currently more than 300 food banks throughout the UK, providing a minimum of three days of emergency food for those in financial crisis.
The charity said people come to them for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income.
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) said the increase illustrated the "devastating impact" of the UK government's welfare cuts.
Susan McPhee, head of policy at CAS, said: "These figures are appalling but sadly they are not surprising. We've seen similar trends in the CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) service.
"Last year Scottish CAB advisers dealt with 2,500 cases of people who we referred to emergency support - which includes food banks and other urgent charity assistance.
"This was double the number of such referrals the previous year.
She added: "Our evidence shows that the main reason why people find themselves in these crisis positions is a sudden unexpected loss of income.
"In the majority of cases this can be traced to a problem in the benefit system: either they are having their benefits cut because of the welfare reforms, or there has been a delay in receiving a payment due to processing problems."
Judith Robertson, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: "These shocking figures show that a perfect storm of spiralling living costs, lack of decent, secure jobs and benefit changes are making it impossible for many people to feed themselves or their families.
"It's clear there is a massive hole in the safety net when so many more people are being forced to rely on emergency food handouts."