A FOODBANK struggling financially will benefit from a £50,000 contingency fund – but the SNP-led council refused to fully-fund the charity’s projected shortfall.

A row broke out at an emergency full council meeting on Wednesday morning as councillors debated the best way to help the West Dunbartonshire Community Foodshare (WDCF), which was knocked back for core funding to pay two part-time staff.

WDCF also pays the local authority back £22,000 in rent for their storage space in Dumbarton and use of community halls for distribution. Their current projected shortfall over three years could be as much as £100,000.

At the meeting, Labour councillors accused the SNP of “victim blaming” as they refused to waive rent charges but instead agreed to question the organisation on how they ended up in this situation.

The foodshare later said they were happy they would not have to lose two staff in the new year, but didn’t agree with suggestions they “over-extended themselves”.

Labour councillor Martin Rooney told colleagues: “What I’ve suggested is to simply set up a contingency fund in case there is any additional need for funding in the short term and also to waive the rental charges until further notice until the financial situation is sorted out.”

The SNP brought an amendment agreeing to set up a contingency fund of £50,000 from free reserves for a restricted period and that WDCF should request funds from this as they need them.

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But they did not agree that the local authority should waive all rental charges payable by the charity until further notice as grant funding already covers the cost.

Jonathon McColl, council leader, said: “It is also clear that WDCF are providing more services than they were in March 2019 when council agreed to provide ongoing financial support and council is concerned that they may have over extended themselves putting new services in place before funding has been secured to run them.”

Councillor Martin Rooney said: “I am surprised at this amendment.

“The tone seems to be blaming the victim, that they’ve not been good enough to get the money and that they have been sent somewhere else and have made a mistake.”

Read more: Foodshare pay council £22k in rent out of £25k annual grant

The majority of councillors agreed the SNP amendment and decided that council officers should bring a report to February’s meeting

Clair Coyle, the foodshare’s trustee, said they submitted full financial information to the council before the meeting. She said: “We were quite surprised at the kind of questions being asked, that we may have over-extended ourselves. We do not agree with that.

“The only project started this year was the Baby Bank, which we started after we had funding.

“We applied for [government] funding and never expected it to be refused. The only new projects we put in place over the years were due to demand.”