Cash-First: Towards ending the need for food banks in Scotland Equality Impact Assessment

The Equality Impact Assessment considers the impact of the Scottish Government’s Cash-First Plan and associated actions to improve the response to financial crisis and reduce the need for emergency food parcels

Who will it affect?

The direct beneficiaries of the Plan and its associated actions are people who experience financial crisis and require assistance to access food and other essentials. There is evidence of a higher prevalence of food insecurity and food bank use in certain household groups, including some with protected characteristics.[6] The Family Resources Survey[7] indicates that this includes:

  • younger people;
  • disabled people;
  • minority ethnic households;
  • single adults;
  • lone parents;
  • larger households;
  • low income households; and
  • tenants in the social rented sector.

Organisations that provide assistance to those groups may be affected:

  • Food banks may see a reduction in demand for their services.
  • Local sources of emergency financial assistance such as the Scottish Welfare Fund may see an increase in the need for their services.
  • Advice services may see an increase in demand or complexity of need.
  • Organisations that refer people to food banks may notice changes to the referral landscape.
  • Organisations that provide holistic wellbeing supports may notice changes to the referral landscape.

What might prevent the desired outcomes being achieved?

The rising cost of living has pushed more people into financial hardship, and crisis support services may therefore have more limited capacity to participate in improvement work. However, the higher need for services would indicate that strengthening access to cash-first sources of support is more important now than ever. Access to cash in a crisis could help to reduce the need for emergency food support, and the integration of holistic support including money advice could help to reduce future hardship and future need for crisis services. The Plan has been developed alongside representatives from crisis support services, and the delivery of associated actions will continue to be responsive to the barriers that frontline staff experience.



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