£1m to fight Brexit food poverty

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The Scottish Government has provided emergency funding to help those most at risk of hunger in the result of a no-deal Brexit

25th September 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

An emergency fund has been launched to help those facing food poverty in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Organisations helping people struggling with food insecurity will benefit from an additional £1 million from the Scottish Government to deal with the additional pressures of Brexit.

A no-deal Brexit is likely to push more people into poverty and result in rising food costs.

Charity FareShare will use the additional funding to support organisations like community cafes, food parcel providers and holiday clubs that provide essential support for people struggling to afford healthy meals.

Recent figures show 9% of adults are worried they could run out of food due to a lack of money. This increases to a quarter of single parents and almost one in five adults living in the most deprived areas of Scotland.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “The UK Government’s no-deal EU Exit planning assumptions show Brexit will be bad for Scotland and particularly bad for low income households.

“No one in Scotland should be left hungry and have to rely on charitable food donations. Increased living costs pose a significant threat to people who are already struggling to make ends meet and are experiencing food insecurity.

“This new funding of £1 million is in addition to the money we committed earlier this year to help organisations manage the impact of Brexit. It is also on top of the £3.5 million we are making available to tackle food insecurity this year.

“We are considering how best to support those most at risk because it is a prudent thing to do – even though the exact Brexit situation is not yet clear.”

Campbell hit out at the UK Government for its inability to help those facing poverty.

“It is outrageous that we are yet again having to fill gaps left by poor decisions from the UK Government, but we continue to tackle poverty head-on,” she said. “Our support to low income households is estimated at £1.4 billion in 2018-19, and includes £100 million to mitigate UK Government welfare cuts.”

Head of FareShare in Scotland Gillian Kynoch said: “The Scottish Government has recognised the need to support vulnerable people in our communities and FareShare’s role in getting good food onto the plates of people who need it most.

“We welcome the funding, which will be used to supplement stocks of available surplus food with additional essential supplies.”

Margaret MacLachlan, project manager at A Menu for Change, said it is vital support is given to those facing poverty.

She said: “New funding to support community initiatives in Scotland to support people facing food insecurity is of course welcome. New figures show 7% of people in our most financially deprived communities report running out of food with many more worrying about doing so. That’s shameful in a rich Scotland, where food is plentiful.

“Support for people at crisis point is crucial, but to end food insecurity itself we must put more cash into people’s pockets rather than be locked into a perpetual cycle of food aid. Until we do that, we will not end hunger for everyone in Scotland.

"We agree with the cabinet secretary that to tackle food insecurity, we must tackle poverty. Right now, a weakened social security system, low pay and insecure work are forcing people to crisis point.

“While we must meet people’s immediate need for food, we must also do much more to ensure those who run out of money can access the cash they need to buy food themselves.”