Food charities should never be required, as long as governments are doing their job, according to Nourish Scotland.
“It is the government’s responsibility to prevent and respond to financial emergencies and crises and to ensure that people can afford a healthy and sustainable diet,” the charity says, in responding to the Scottish Government’s consultation on ending the need for foodbanks.
It adds, “For Scotland to deliver on its commitments to human rights and the eradication of poverty, everyone in Scotland should have confidence that incomes through fair work and social security are enough to meet the cost of living, and that when an emergency arises, there is financial assistance available to support them.
“Actions to deliver on these commitments should place dignity at the heart of service design and delivery.”
The charity calls for a target to end severe food insecurity by 2030 in the upcoming Good Food Nation Act.
“Giving effect to the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights in Scots Law through the Human Rights Bill is an important step in realising the right to adequate food in Scotland,” it says.
“Cost of living expenses need to be protected”
It adds that unmanageable transport cost is often listed as one of the top challenges for people living on low incomes. Free transport for people on low incomes or in the asylum process may make a significant difference to a household’s ability to afford food with choice and dignity.
Actions to prevent food insecurity could also include protecting cost of living expenses for anyone who has had support withdrawn or is repaying a debt to national or local government.
It adds that emergency financial assistance and money advice will need to be much more widely promoted, understood and accessible to all frontline services and people facing acute financial crises.
“We welcome the intention to explore the integration of food insecurity measurement into the evaluation of measures such as the Scottish Child Payment and Minimum Income Guarantee,” the charity says.
“We suggest that a similar approach should be used with measures to reduce the cost of living.”