Tackling food poverty

Treating people justly and fairly.

The Independent Short Life Working Group on Food Poverty recommends the Scottish Government should support more dignified and sustainable food provision.

The expert group has today met with Communities Secretary Angela Constance to present their report ‘Dignity: Ending Hunger Together in Scotland’.

The report advocates a move away from emergency food provision towards more dignified and sustainable food provision.

Welcoming the work of the group, Ms Constance said:

“No-one should be left hungry and unable to afford to feed their families in a country as prosperous as Scotland.

“I thank the Group for their work and for considering the issues that cause food poverty. UK Government welfare cuts and benefit sanctions have continually pushed more and more people into food poverty and increased the demand and reliance on emergency food provision in Scotland.

“Food poverty cannot be solved overnight, and this group has played an important role in looking at how we can best support people out of food poverty.

“We will consider the Group’s recommendations in full and respond in due course.

"I look forward to taking action that will help reduce reliance on emergency food provision, tackle food poverty and create a fairer Scotland.”

Rev Dr Martin Johnstone, chair of the work and Secretary of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, said:

“The primary cause of the increase in foodbanks has been that people do not have enough money to feed themselves and their families.

“Our report makes clear that we need to increase the amount of money for those who struggle most against poverty, such as by creating a more dignified Social Security system.

“At the heart of all our recommendations lies the core principle of dignity. People who do not have enough to eat must be treated justly and fairly. We need their wisdom and expertise to tackle food poverty together.

“The Working Group hopes that the Scottish Government will accept our recommendations and we look forward to working with them to ‘end hunger together in Scotland’.”

Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said:

“With nearly one in five people in Scotland living in poverty, we need to put more money into people’s pockets including, critically, through an effective and adequate social security system but also by ensuring work provides a reliable route out of poverty.

“This report cannot be allowed to gather dust or be side-tracked by wider events. The need is simply too urgent for far too many people. Amid Scotland’s huge collective wealth, no-one should have insufficient income to buy food.”

John Dickie, Director of Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said:

“This report is absolutely clear that the fundamental problem behind the explosion of food bank use and rising food insecurity is that too many people are being left without enough money to adequately feed themselves and their children.

“If we are serious about ending hunger in Scotland the recommendations in this report must be implemented as soon as possible.”

Notes to editors

The Independent Short Life Working Group on Food Poverty report ‘Dignity: Ending Hunger Together in Scotland’, is available at http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2016/06/8020


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