The number of food parcels distributed by poverty charities to children in Scotland has increased by more than three quarters since 2017, new statistics show.
Scottish Labour has said the right to food must be enshrined in law in Scotland to curb the reliance on food banks.
Mid-year statistics from the Trussell Trust – a leading food poverty organisation – 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 statistics from April to September compare the number of parcels delivered from the same period in 2017.
Some 76,593 food parcels were given to adults while 39,780 went to children in Scotland in the 2022 period, compared to 48,116 and 22,413 in 2017 respectively.
Labour MSP Rhoda Grant said she intends to bring a Member’s Bill before Parliament in the new year to highlight the need for a statutory right to food in Scots law.
The policy was backed by governing parties the SNP and the Greens in their 2021 manifesto.
But Labour has said both Scottish Government parties voted against the attempt to introduce a Right to Food during the Good Food Nation Bill.
Ms Grant said: “As the cost-of-living piles pressure on households, more and more Scots are being forced to turn to food banks.
“Families are at breaking point and parents are struggling to feed their children.
“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.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are very concerned about the hardship people are facing as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.
“We are doing everything we can to help households, within the limited powers we have.
“In this financial year we have allocated around £3 billion in a range of measures which will help mitigate the impacts of the cost-of-living crisis on households, of which £1 billion 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.
“We are committed to incorporating a right to adequate food into Scots law in our forthcoming Human Rights Bill and we will consult formally on our proposals in 2023.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe