Emergency Food Fund For Aid Groups

Food aid groups are being offered a share of £500,000 to help tackle poverty in their communities.

The "emergency'' fund is part of a wider million-pound investment in aid by the Scottish Government.

It was announced as MSPs on Holyrood's Welfare Committee criticised the UK Government for "ignoring'' evidence showing a link between welfare reform and the growing use of food banks.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "The amount of people experiencing food poverty in Scotland is simply not acceptable. Welfare reform, benefit delays, benefit sanctions and falling incomes are all having a detrimental impact on the people of Scotland.

"The Scottish Government's Emergency Food Fund will help food aid organisations combat food poverty in Scotland by working in partnership with other local agencies. I urge relevant organisations to apply.

"One of the most depressing trends over the last few years has been the rapid rise of food poverty in our country.

"The only upside to this is seeing communities come together, gathering and distributing food for those in need. It is important that we support these people and organisations through initiatives such as the Emergency Food Fund.

"Most people recognise that the increase in foodbank use is directly linked to welfare reform and benefit cuts. Only an independent Scotland will have the full powers we need to protect people from poverty and help them fulfill their potential in work and life.''

Half the total £1 million fund is already committed to charity FareShare which redistributes surplus food from retailers to charities supporting their local communities.

The other half can now be offered in grants between £1,000 and £50,000 to food aid groups, advice and support agencies, and organisations working to promote healthy eating and reduce food waste.

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