A Good Food Nation for New Scots?

Our clients tell us every day that they are struggling to eat. Their needs must not be forgotten in the drive to be a Good Food Nation, writes Media Officer Chris Afuakwah.

The national food and drink policy, Becoming a Good Food Nation, was published in 2014. The policy set a new vision for Scotland: that by 2025 Scotland will be “a Good Food Nation, where people from every walk of life take pride and pleasure in, and benefit from, the food they produce, buy, cook, serve, and eat each day.”

One of the aims of the Good Food Nation policy is: “Everyone in Scotland has ready access to the healthy, nutritious food they need.”

A wonderful idea, and one we’d love to see come to fruition. However, with the use of severely overstretched food banks on the rise, and thousands of people relying on the third sector entirely for food, it is clear that we need more than words in a policy document, and an arbitrary date in the future.

We hear time and time again from our clients that they are struggling to eat.

“This Christmas past, everybody was celebrating, having parties, having fun, having a good time with friends and relatives. I swear to God I was hungry at home and I had nothing.”

“I have just £35 per week. How can I eat? I don’t like frozen food, but if I buy meat? That’s almost half my weekly money.”

“How can someone live on £5 a day? A bus pass now is £4.60. What can I get for 40 pence? I’m wasting away.”

The right to food can and must tie into a wider human rights based approach to alleviating destitution in Scotland. Lifting the ban on right to work for asylum seekers would significantly improve access to food for thousands of people; and access to emergency shelter for destitute asylum seekers would ensure that people could safely access healthy, nutritious food without being exploited.

The Scottish Government is aware that the right to food must be incorporated into a wider rights-based strategy.

“Scottish Ministers have already sought to embed food rights at the heart of public policy by continuing to challenge directly the causes of food insecurity. This includes mitigating the impact of UK welfare reform policies such as the bedroom tax, promoting the living wage, and by embedding a rights-based approach in the design and delivery of our new Scottish social security system. Through the Fair Food Transformation Fund, we are supporting communities to put dignity at the forefront of responses to food insecurity. Our approach is further informed by our vision for a Fairer Scotland.”

However, we need assurances that New Scots will not be left behind in this push for food security. To achieve this, we need to ensure that their voices are heard. 

Take action

The Good Food Nation Consultation has been extended from 29 March to 18 April 2019. Have your say.

Alternatively, you can share your thoughts here.

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