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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-09047: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 26 April 2017

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5T-00524 by Angela Constance on 25 April 2017 (Official Report, c. 6), what action it plans in response to the report in The Press and Journal on 25 April 2017 that a survey by the Poverty Alliance suggested that almost one third of people on low incomes in the Highlands and Islands regularly skip meals to save money and that more than a quarter have fallen behind with household bills.

Answered by: Angela Constance 9 May 2017

The fact that people anywhere in Scotland have to skip meals to save money, or struggle to keep up with household bills, is completely unacceptable. Sadly, these figures do not come as a surprise considering the UK Government’s failed austerity agenda and continuing barrage of welfare cuts.

As set out in the response to question S5T-00524, the Scottish Government believes that access to sufficient, nutritious food is a basic human right which is why our £1 million a year Fair Food Fund supports approaches that help people affected by food poverty in a dignified way.

We are providing £47,000 of Fair Food funding across 2016-18 to a local community organisation in the Highlands which is developing a community cafe and shop, alongside local gardening initiatives and healthy cooking on a budget demonstrations, as an alternative to establishing a foodbank. In addition, we are investing £160,000 this financial year in Citizens Advice Bureaux throughout the Highlands and Islands to support people affected by the UK Government’s welfare cuts.