SNP reportedly considering dropping "Good Food" bill

The proposed Good Food Nation Bill, was expected to take a "joined-up approach" to supporting Scotland’s food and drink sector, whilst looking at issues such as sustainability, food poverty and healthy eating, but Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has refused to confirm the government is moving ahead with the legislation.

Labour has urged the government not to drop the legislation.

The party say they had also planned to amend the bill to introduce a statutory right to food.

In recent answers to parliamentary questions, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing refused to confirm whether the Scottish Government remains committed to bringing forward the legislation, stating instead that it is “considering legislative and policy options”.

Similarly, in the last meeting with the Scottish Food Commission on June 28th he stated that “Scottish Ministers had not yet reached a decision as to whether a Bill was the optimal way forward to achieve the aims of becoming a Good Food Nation”.

Scottish Labour’s Rural Economy spokesperson, Colin Smyth, said the bill was "an opportunity to take a bold, joined-up approach to transforming our food and drink sector, and legislate on crucial issues such as food poverty, sustainability and healthy eating."

“It would be unacceptable for the SNP government to try and quietly drop this, and I hope ministers will clarify their position on this as a matter of urgency." he said.

“Scottish Labour will be pressing the SNP government to take this Bill forward and use it to enshrine an enforceable right to food in Scots law."

“This would mean the government and other public bodies would have a statutory duty to ensure everyone has access to adequate and affordable food. It is a scandal that so many children in Scotland still go to bed hungry at night and that needs to end.”

The bill has been supported by a variety of think tanks and campaigns, with Robin McAlpine of CommonWeal commenting that: "It really is time that the Scottish Government pressed on with the Good Food Nation Bill to start the process of getting public policy catch up with the hopes and aspirations of the Scottish public”.

 

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