Calls for 'right to food law' as children using food banks surges

Over 39,000 children received food parcels in a six-month period during 2022.

Scottish children using food banks surges almost 80% amid urgent calls for right to food law iStock

Over 75,000 food parcels were given to adults in Scotland in a six-month period last year, according to new figures.

The Trussell Trust revealed the total number of food parcels handed out since 2017 has increased by 65%, while food distributed to children has risen by 77%.

The food bank charity said 76,593 food parcels were given to adults while 39,780 went to children in Scotland in the April to September period in 2022.

It follows calls from Scottish Labour to have the right to food enshrined in law as a way of curbing reliance on food poverty organisations.

Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said she intended to bring a member’s Bill before Parliament on the legislation in the new year.

“Families are at breaking point and parents are struggling to feed their children,” she said.

“It is more urgent than ever that we enshrine people’s right to food in Scots law, but the SNP-Green government keep kicking the can down the line.

“There is no more time to delay – this year must be the year we embed the right to food in law at last.”

The policy was backed by governing parties the SNP and the Greens in their 2021 manifesto, though has yet to be brought before Holyrood.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said the law would be included in revised human rights legislation set to be introduced in 2023.

They added: “We are doing everything we can to help households, within the limited powers we have.

“In this financial year we have allocated around £3bn in a range of measures which will help mitigate the impacts of the cost of living crisis on households, of which £1bn is for support only available in Scotland and not elsewhere in the UK, for example Scottish Child Payment and Child Winter Heating Assistance.

“We will continue to urge the UK Government to use all the powers at its disposal to tackle this cost-of-living crisis on the scale required.

“Our draft plan on ending the need for food banks received strong public support when we consulted on it earlier in the year. We will publish a final version later this winter.”

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