If we have the political will we can make this the last year where people have to go hungry, South Scotland MSP and Scottish Labour’s Rural Affairs Spokesperson Colin Smyth has said.
The local MSP is calling on parliamentarians to support the ‘Right to Food’ bill, a members bill being introduced into Parliament by Labour MSP Rhoda Grant which would enshrine the right to food in Scots Law.
The MSP warned that food poverty in the south of Scotland is at unacceptable levels. The Trussell Trust reported that it has distributed thousands of food parcels to people across the south of Scotland in the six months from April to September this year, including many distributed to children (see full breakdown of local authority areas below).
In August, the Food Foundation reported that 10.3 per cent of Scots were experiencing food in security.
With the Tory cut to Universal Credit set to push families across Scotland further and further into poverty, Colin Smyth is calling for urgent action to tackle food poverty.
Colin Smyth said: “There is no reason at all why anyone should be going hungry in a wealthy nation like Scotland.
“The evidence is clear – thousands of Scots are in food poverty and many more are being put at risk due to cuts in benefits by the UK Government and cuts in support to local councils by the Scottish Government.
“These appalling figures show how many families in our area are relying on food banks to get by.
“We simply cannot stand back and allow this situation to continue.
“If we have the political will we can end food poverty in Scotland by enshrining it as a human right in Scots Law.
“This will send a powerful message to the country that we are serious about tackling the scourge of food poverty and force us into action. The Right to Food Bill would make it a legal requirement for public bodies such as councils with the support of Government to develop plans to ensure everyone has access to adequate food
“Let’s make this a reality, so no-one in our area has to go hungry next Christmas.”