Council leaders call for collaboration with Scottish Government on food poverty
Councillor Frank McAveety and Councillor Andrew Burns, the leaders of Glasgow City Council and the City of Edinburgh Council, met in Glasgow today to discuss the issue of food poverty.
On the final day of The Poverty Alliance’s Challenge Poverty Week, the leaders of Scotland's two largest cities called on the Scottish Government to work with them to combat food poverty.
The two councillors requested a meeting with the First Minister about the issue, saying that a collaborative approach between the Scottish Government and local government could help tackle poverty across the country.
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They said the meeting would be an opportunity to discuss ways of moving beyond food banks to tackle the causes of food poverty.
Both leaders wish to support existing community projects and they would like to discuss measures, such as a challenge fund, to promote food hubs as a way to strengthen current community-led work.
In a joint letter to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, they said: “Food poverty is one of the most pressing problems affecting our communities and, in light of the UK Government’s continuing austerity agenda, there is an opportunity for Scotland to develop a distinct response to this challenge.
“We believe that, as Scotland’s two biggest cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh are well placed to provide leadership and to develop and implement solutions that work on a local level.
“We would encourage the Scottish and UK Governments to work in partnership with local government, communities and the third sector to tackle food poverty and develop a plan to tackle its causes.”
The two leaders were joined by Councillor Lesley Hinds, chair of Edible Edinburgh, a partnership of organisations working to build new approaches to food in the capital.
They visited the Coming Home Centre, a project in Govan helping provide lunch, advice and support to ex-servicemen and women in the city as they adapt to civilian life.
The two leaders also helped deliver vegetables grown in Pollok Country Park by Glasgow City Council staff.
Glasgow and Edinburgh are both part of the Sustainable Food Cities network, with Edible Edinburgh and the Glasgow Food Policy Partnership working to promote sustainability in each of the cities.