The Scottish Government has today (2 June 2014) announced the opening of a £500,000 emergency fund to help combat the rise of food poverty in Scotland.
This is on top of a further half a million already given to FareShare with the aim of assisting the charity in combating underlying causes of food poverty. This amounts to a £1 million total investment by the Scottish Government.
Charities and food aid organisations can apply to the fund for help in addressing the issue of malnutrition and food poverty in communities across Scotland.
The new fund will provide grants of between £30,000 and £50,000 to larger projects, or smaller grants of up to £10,000 for smaller food aid organisations.
‘Grants will be given to projects that concentrate on preventing food crisis recurring, those that build connections between food aid providers, advice and support agencies and organisations working to promote healthy eating and reduce food waste’, say the Scottish Government.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (pictured) told Inside Housing:
“The amount of people experiencing food poverty in Scotland is simply not acceptable. Welfare reform, benefit delays, benefit sanctions and falling incomes are all having a detrimental impact on the people of Scotland.
“The Scottish Government’s Emergency Food Fund will help food aid organisations combat food poverty in Scotland by working in partnership with other local agencies. I urge relevant organisations to apply.”
The announcement comes less than a day after the Scottish Welfare Reform Committee accused the UK Government of being ‘in denial’ about the link between welfare reforms and a 400% surge in food bank usage.
Commenting on the release of the report, Labour MSP and committee convener Michael McMahon, said:
“The UK Government can no longer ignore the evidence that their welfare reforms are having a real impact on people’s ability to feed themselves.
“There can be no place for this in a modern, prosperous nation, just as there should be no need for food banks.
“Our evidence showed some low paid workers need to access food banks.
“This makes it even more insulting for them to insist that people using food banks are anything other than in desperate need of help. Help the welfare system should be providing, not charities.
“Allowing this Dickensian model of welfare to take root is simply unacceptable. Ignoring the problem cannot be part of the solution.”