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19 September 2018, 07:36
A third of Scots have been left unable to afford food at some point in the last year, a survey has revealed.
Research for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) found 33% of people had gone without food at least once in the previous 12 months because of a lack of cash.
More than a quarter (28%) of those surveyed said this had happened to them between one in six times - but one in 20 (5%) said they had been forced to go hungry on even more occasions.
The prospect of rising food prices as a result of Brexit was also highlighted as a major concern.
Seven out of 10 people (71%) said they were concerned about the impact of the UK leaving the European Union, with 65% of this group citing the cost of food and other essentials as being amongst their worries.
CAS revealed the findings of the research, for which 2,010 people were questioned in April, as it urged consumers to take part in a new survey on food issues.
Chief executive Derek Mitchell said people coming to Citizens Advice Bureaux for help with money problems "often tell us how hard it is for them to put food on the table".
He added: "Cost is certainly a major concern, but it is not the only one. We also hear from people who find it hard to access quality food, due to their location or the lack of choice in their area.
"With the Scottish Government pledging a new Food programme last week, we thought this would be an excellent time to give Scots a chance to talk about their experience as shoppers and consumers of food. We will use the survey results to bring the voice of Scotland's consumers into those policy discussions.
"Maintaining a healthy balanced diet should be easily attainable for Scots, and quality food should be available at affordable prices whatever your location. This is clearly not the case and we need to fix that.
"So this is an opportunity for people to join the national conversation on food. We want everyone in Scotland to complete this short survey. It only takes a few minutes and you don't have to give your name, but the more responses we get the stronger the consumer voice will be."
The Food on the Table survey will be on Citizens Advice Scotland's website for the next month, with copies also available in local Citizens Advice Bureau.