Food poverty alliance declares war on hunger

Foodbank

​Charities meet to decide strategy for tackling food poverty

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19th October 2015 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

The country’s first foodbank taskforce has convened, with the aim of eradicating hunger in Scotland.

A wide range of charities and civil society groups are involved in the project, which will discuss how to tackle the issues surrounding food poverty in Scotland.

It held its first meeting on Monday (19 October) and it will compile information about foodbank use which will be submitted to the Scottish Government in February.

The group's recommendations will be used in the Scottish Government's Social Justice Action Plan, which aims to help tackle poverty and create fairer opportunities.

It is heart breaking that anyone should be left hungry and unable to afford to feed their families in a country as prosperous as Scotland

Latest figures from the Trussell Trust – one of the participating organisations – show that 117,689 people in Scotland picked up a three-day supply of groceries in 2014/2015, more than eight times the number two years ago.

Group chair Rev Martin Johnstone, of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council, said: "The group will bring together people with a wide variety of experiences of tackling food poverty including, critically, those with direct experience of what it means to not have enough for you and your family.

"I hope that together we can highlight what is working, what needs to change and what the Scottish Government and others can do to bring about a hunger free Scotland."

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, which is running its annual Challenge Poverty Week until Friday, 23 October, said: "The growth of foodbanks in recent years is the surest sign that we need to do more to tackle poverty in Scotland.

"We need to find longer term solutions to food poverty. So we welcome the Scottish government convening this new group to find lasting solutions to the problem."

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said he hoped the group would create a strategy that would reduce the need for foodbank usage.

He said: "It is heart breaking that anyone should be left hungry and unable to afford to feed their families in a country as prosperous as Scotland.

"UK government welfare cuts and benefit sanctions have continually pushed more and more people into food poverty and increased the demand and number of foodbanks in Scotland.

"This shocking trend has to stop."

Other groups taking part include Oxfam Scotland, Fareshare, Nourish and The Hunter Foundation.