Scotland must end the growing scandal of food poverty by enshrining the right to food in law, Richard Leonard has said.
The Scottish Labour leader was speaking after a visit to a Club365 event in Motherwell, where schoolchildren receive free school meals, and access games and activities during weekends and school holidays.
Mr Leonard said that a future Scottish Labour government would ensure the scheme is rolled out across Scotland, but argued more needs to be done for the children’s families and others who are struggling with food poverty.
Mr Leonard said ‘no-one in Scotland should be going hungry’ and urged the First Minister to commit to enshrining the right to food in law in her Programme for Government in September.
The call follows a joint letter published this week and signed by more than 70 leading charities, academics and trades unions, calling for a ‘Good Food Nation’ Bill to be brought forward that includes a right to food, before the end of this Parliament.
Figures released recently by the Trussell Trust shows that foodbank use has reached record levels in Scotland with the distribution of emergency food parcels increasing by nearly a quarter in 2018/19.
Two key reports have also been published this week showing a rising rate of poverty and an increasing demand for financial assistance.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said:
“Labour’s pioneering Club365 is making a difference for some of the most vulnerable children, but their families, neighbours and many others need help too.
“No-one in Scotland should be going hungry, and it is shameful that foodbank use continues to rise.
“Nicola Sturgeon must end the growing scandal of food poverty in Scotland and use her Programme for Government to introduce a statutory right to food when Parliament returns from recess.
“Bringing forward a Good Food Nation Bill would be an opportunity to guarantee that people in Scotland can access enough to eat without benefits agencies imposing penalties that threaten someone’s ability to get the food they need.
“I hope that the First Minister and the SNP government act urgently to ensure the legislation is brought forward – if they won’t, Scottish Labour will.”
1 August 2019