Angela Moohan, chief executive of The Larder – which provides healthy meals for vulnerable people and training in the food sector – is calling on the Scottish Government to take action in response to the cost-of-living crisis and rising levels of hunger.
She warned it is “the poorest in our society that will be disproportionately disadvantaged” by the ongoing crisis, which has seen food costs increase alongside energy bills and fuel prices.
Ms Moohan issued the plea ahead of speaking at the Cost-of-Living Crisis Conference in Glasgow on Friday, organised by the STUC and the Poverty Alliance.
She said: “We all know that in Scotland today, far too many people do not know where their next meal is coming from, with many more skipping meals and reducing the amount of food that they eat.
“As energy and food prices escalate and incomes drop in real terms, the choice between heating and eating has become a harsh, cruel reality for even more people.
“The truth is, when we discuss the cost-of-living crisis, we know that it is the poorest in our society that will be disproportionately disadvantaged by all aspects of the cost of living, not least rising food costs.
“The Scottish Government must intervene and take action now to ensure that Scotland is a country that is serious and committed to good food for all.”
Ms Moohan said that in declaring a national food emergency, Holyrood would recognise there is a “serious problem that they are committed to addressing urgently”.
She also suggested a national summit should be organised in order to develop a plan of emergency action, as well as enshrining the right to good food in law.
This would recognise the need to “equalise access to food that is nutritious and supports wellbeing”, she said.
Ms Moohan added: “Finally, the Scottish Government must stop cutting local government budgets and instead invest in local government and the third sector, as they play a crucial role in supporting communities.
“These are actions that must happen urgently. If not, we will continue to see a spiralling decline in living standards, more people going hungry and the divide between the richest and poorest growing further.”