Cash-First - towards ending the need for food banks in Scotland: plan

This Plan "Cash-First: Towards Ending the Need for Food Banks in Scotland" sets out our human rights approach to tackling food insecurity and outlines nine collaborative actions we will take over the next three years to improve the response to financial hardship and start to reduce the need for emergency food parcels.

Part C – Longer-Term Action to Prevent Food Insecurity

While improving our response to household financial crisis is crucial, particularly given the current cost of living crisis, it is action to ensure adequate and secure household incomes that will provide a long-term solution to food insecurity.

The Scottish Government will continue to use the powers we have to deliver bold measures to reduce poverty and inequality. In 2023-24 we will invest over £5.2 billion in social security payments to over one million people – £776 million above the level of funding received from the UK Government. In addition we will invest £84 million in Discretionary Housing Payments to mitigate the benefit cap, the bedroom tax and other UK Government welfare cuts and £450 million in our Council Tax Reduction scheme that means over 450,000 households do not have to pay council tax they cannot afford. We will also continue to provide free early learning and childcare, free school meals, school clothing grants and free prescriptions amongst other policies that all help leave more money in people's pockets to afford essentials.

We continue to call on the UK Government to use their powers to strengthen household incomes. This includes calling for reinstatement of the Universal Credit uplift at £25 per week, extended to all means-tested benefits, as well as the scrapping of the benefit cap as crucial measures to protect people from food insecurity. Reversing key UK Government welfare reforms that have occurred since 2015 would lift an estimated 70,000 people out of poverty in Scotland, including 30,000 children, in 2023-24.

The following diagram summarises the wide range of preventative actions the Scottish Government is taking that will help us realise our long-term ambition of ending the need for food banks by improving incomes and reducing costs.

Promoting Fair Work

  • Minimum Income Guarantee
  • Fair Work Action Plan
  • Enhanced public sector pay
  • Action on the gender pay gap and disability employment gap
  • Parental Employability Support Fund
  • Anti-Racist Employment Strategy
  • Real Living Wage and Living Hours

Strengthening Social Security

  • Minimum Income Guarantee
  • Best Start Grants
  • Best Start Foods
  • Scottish Child Payment
  • Carer's Allowance Supplement
  • Child Disability Payment
  • Adult Disability Payment

Reducing the Cost of Living

  • Free bus travel
  • Connecting Scotland
  • Early learning and childcare
  • School clothing grant
  • Free school meals and holiday support
  • Affordable homes
  • Free period products
  • Education Maintenance Allowance
  • Scottish Attainment Challenge
  • Council Tax Reduction scheme
  • Free prescriptions
  • Fuel Poverty and Heat in Buildings strategies
  • Free tuition fees and bursaries



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