Scottish Government responds to action calls from the UN on poverty

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THE SCOTTISH Government has welcomed a call from the United Nations to tackle food insecurity poverty and injustice in the UK.

A report published by the government sets out the actions being taken in Scotland to protect human rights and how to ensure access to food for people on low incomes.

The report comes as a response to concerns raised last year to the UK government by international experts who wrote to UK Ministers last August raising concerns about food insecurity and poverty.

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(Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash) The Scottish Government, which is responsible for devolved matters in Scotland, contributed last year to a draft UK response to the UN’s letter. The UK response has still not been submitted to the UN.

Professor Michael Fakhri and Professor Olivier De Schutter the two leading international experts who act as Special Rapporteurs to the UN Human Rights Council, wrote to UK Ministers and requested a response within 60 days.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:“The UN’s analysis has pointed to the systematic failings of the UK welfare system that have left people in hardship and crisis.

“Far too many people have experienced austerity, hunger and destitution as a direct consequence of UK Government policies and I am disappointed it has not yet issued a formal response to highlight how this will be tackled.

“Our detailed report highlights bold measures to put more money in people’s pockets, including our game-changing new Scottish Child Payment and our commitment to the Fair Work Action Plan and promoting the real Living Wage.

“The Scottish Government has now committed more than half a billion in social protection since the onset of the pandemic, including £130 million targeted at tackling food insecurity.

“However as long as key levers to move the dial on poverty and inequality remain at Westminster, the Scottish Government will continue to call on the UK Government to make the changes required to protect us all so we end the need for food banks and ensure everyone can afford to buy the food they need.”

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, said: “Even before the pandemic began, significant numbers of people in Scotland were experiencing food insecurity. Over the last year we have seen many more swept into poverty.

“The Scottish Government’s report highlights that a ‘cash first’ response is the right approach, whether to replace Free School Meal provision or to make more crisis grants available to those who need them.

“Boosting incomes is critical to reducing food insecurity over the long term. Investing in the UK social security system will prevent more people being set adrift.

“Retaining the £20 uplift to Universal Credit next month will help loosen the grip of poverty and will act as a financial lifeline for thousands.”