East Lothian Foodbank volunteers collected more than 100 signatures outside the charity’s base on Civic Square, Tranent, on Friday, September 8, calling for an increase in Universal Credit.

Staff and volunteers at the foodbank say the £85 per week allocated to a single individual on Universal Credit is not enough to cover living costs.

The Trussell Trust charity, which operates foodbanks across the UK, says that about 90 per cent of low-income households are going without at least one essential item such as food, heating or toiletries. 

Lucy Daniels, community participation and campaigns lead at East Lothian Foodbank, told the Courier they were behind the Trussell Trust’s Guarantee our Essentials campaign.

“Calculations show that the £85 per week for a single person on Universal Credit is not enough,” she said.

“Calculations show with the price increases people will need about £120 a week.

“We’re calling on the UK Government to guarantee people on Universal Credit can afford the essentials.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We know people are struggling, which is why we have a plan to halve inflation and are providing record financial support worth an average £3,300 per household. We have raised benefits – including Universal Credit – by 10.1 per cent.”