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Scottish Government publishes proposals to end need for food banks

By Ewan Malcolm

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THE Scottish Government has published its proposals to end the need for food banks as a primary response to food insecurity.

The plan aims to make food banks a thing of the past.
The plan aims to make food banks a thing of the past.

Views are being sought on the plan as part of a consultation to help identify further practical action that needs to be taken to deliver this vision.

The plan is being backed by food bank operators including the Trussel Trust and Independent Food Aid Network.

It follows action during the pandemic to prevent food insecurity through increasing household incomes and the delivery of cash-first responses to financial hardship.

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said: "We share the same vision as food bank operators – they are not a long term solution to poverty. Our draft plan sets out what we will do within our powers – including introducing a shopping voucher pilot scheme - to make food banks the last port of call.

"Over the last year we have invested around £2.5 billion to support low income households, including nearly £1 billion to directly support children.

"Despite our fixed budget and limited powers we are taking action to support those in poverty, including discussions around establishing a minimum income guarantee for Scotland.

"As part of the right to an adequate standard of living, people need to be able to access food that meets their dietary, social and cultural needs and this plan shows the way forward."

Sabine Goodwin, co-ordinator of the Independent Food Aid Network, said: "As the cut to Universal Credit and cost of living increases exacerbate poverty in Scotland, the publication of the draft national plan to end the need for food banks couldn't be more timely.

"With a cash first, collaborative approach to food insecurity as the cornerstone of this plan, a time when food banks will no longer be needed to plug the gaps left by financial hardship is within sight."

The draft national plan forms part of the Scottish Government's national strategy to eradicate poverty alongside the Tackling Poverty Delivery Plan and the Good Food Nation Bill.

More information can be found here.

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