WE can make food banks a thing of the past with anti-poverty policies. That is the message of the Glasgow Community Food Network.

Their report, Glasgow, Tackling Poverty With A City Plan, identifies four key steps to overhaul a failing food system which is mirrored throughout Scotland. Here they outline what need to be done.

  • Cash first – Universal Basic Income: There is no better immediately available poverty alleviation method than the cash first approach of Universal Basic Income (UBI), where citizens receive a guaranteed income to support living. This, as research modelling suggests, could create “unprecedented” decreases in poverty in Scotland.
  • The pandemic response: Third-sector organisations are often providing emergency food instead of supporting social cohesion. This got worse during the Covid-19 crisis. We need a properly funded food-system and not the “competitive” funding system currently in vogue.

READ MORE: Scotland only part of UK to see 'significant' drop in food bank usage

The Scottish Government should, however, take lessons from the solidarity, dignity and care provided by frontline third-sector and mutual aid groups.

  • Support for asylum seekers: Like the right to food, we all have a right to asylum but asylum seekers experience obscene conditions. Barred from work, incomes range from £8.00 to £40 per week.

We obtained eight case studies of asylum seekers, who shared testimonies of poverty, mental health issues, exclusion and poor diet. The Scottish Government can provide support against this unjust and racist immigration system. Easy access to culturally appropriate food, nutritional food provision and more financial support can and should be provided to asylum seekers.

  • Localise, democratise, empower: The food we grow and produce must generate community wealth and resilience. We know that about 80% of money spent locally circuluates locally, as opposed to 20% spent in indifferent national chains.

Glasgow already has a burgeoning local food culture, but it must be enhanced. This would be a win-win, with more climate-friendly food production, greater nutrition and more democratic and accountable forms of production.

For more detail on the recommendations, see glasgowfood.net/report-tpwacp