South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has said next year must be the year Scotland enshrines a statutory Right to Food in law, as figures show food bank use soaring across South Scotland.

The Trussell Trust’s mid-year statistics show that the number of food parcels handed out in every local council area in South Scotland has soared since 2017. The number of parcels given to children has risen even more drastically.

Scottish Labour have said this proves there must be no more delays to the introduction of a legal right to food in Scotland.

Scottish Labour have long campaigned for a statutory right to food in Scots law. The SNP and the Greens both backed this policy in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election, however in May the SNP-Green government voted against Labour’s attempt to introduce a Right to Food during the Good Food Nation Bill. Scottish Labour’s Rural Affairs Spokesperson and South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said “As the cost of living crisis piles pressure on households, more and more people locally are being forced to turn to food banks.

“Families are at breaking point and parents are struggling to feed their children.

“Foodbanks do a fantastic job and it’s great that so many people, especially at this time of year, are contributing to them.

“However, it is a scandal that not only are Foodbanks needed, but demand is soaring.

“It is more urgent than ever that we enshrine people’s right to food in Scots law. When Labour proposed this at the time the Good Food Nations Bill was being passed by Parliament , the SNP-Green Government voted it down.

“A statutory right to food would mean Government agencies would have to develop policies to ensure everyone has access to good nutritional food. The longer the Scottish Government delay the longer the list of people having to rely on foodbanks will get.“There is no more time to delay – this year must be the year we embed the right to food in law at last.”

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