Cash-First: Towards Ending the Need for Food Banks in Scotland Fairer Scotland Duty Impact Assessment

The Fairer Scotland Duty 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.

Part 3 - Consultation on the draft Plan

A draft Plan was developed with contributions from a stakeholder steering group and direct experience reference group, and this was published for consultation between 20 October 2021 and 25 January 2022.[36] There were over 400 responses[37] and an independent analysis of views has been published.[38] This reaffirmed a shared consensus across Scotland, including among food banks and other food aid providers, for a human rights informed approach to ensure that everyone can afford an adequate diet.

A series of workshops were delivered to gain the views of people with direct experience of food insecurity. The workshops were co-facilitated by Nourish Scotland and Govan Community Project.

Analysis of the consultation responses indicated strong support for the ambition set out, and that a cash-first approach was consistent with the need to reduce the need for food banks, potentially offering a dignified response whilst avoiding stigma, and providing flexibility and choice.

There were mixed views on the use of shopping cards as a short-term alternative to food banks, offering more choice and flexibility, and a step towards a cash-first approach. Clarity was requested for reassurance that the cards will serve as a crisis response, alongside measures such as the Scottish Welfare Fund and that shopping cards/vouchers will not replace cash-first options.

Most were in favour of developing a cash-first pathway, signposting to advice services whilst remaining aware of the potential challenges frontline staff may experiencing in delivering this in place of food parcels.

The importance of ensuring emergency support remains available for those who need it was stressed and, critically, that this support is rooted in the values of dignity and respect.

The consultation, direct experience workshops, community groups and local authority engagement have provided the information which has been used to shape the Plan.



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