Government funding should be used to ensure people in poverty have more money rather than fund foodbanks, a group of experts has said.
Measures such a increasing child benefit by £5 a week and providing more funding to the Scottish Welfare Fund, which gives out crisis grants for families in an emergency, would be a more dignified answer to food poverty.
The Independent Short Life Working Group on Food Poverty, which included groups such as Child Poverty Action Group, the Trussell Trust and Oxfam, has called on the Scottish Government to carry out its recommendations, which it says would also provide a more sustainable solution to the problem.
Its report, Dignity: Ending Hunger Together in Scotland, advocates a move away from emergency food and calls for the government to use Scotland’s devolved powers to ensure families in work are also not in poverty.
The report was published just days after new official figures showed over one in five children are still living in poverty – with two thirds of those are living in working families.
It called for the Scottish Government to use new social security powers to improve the value of social security by topping up child benefit by £5 per week and lifting 30,000 children out of poverty. The Scottish Government and local authorities should also prioritise investment in benefits advice and information services, while ensuring widespread use of the Scottish Welfare Fund as the first port of call for crisis support – and increasing funding for it if demand grows according.