Changing the law to tackle deprivation and health inequalities

A report to the Scottish government has suggested that the human right to food should be put into Scots Law as over 400,000 people rely on food parcels.

A report by the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to the Scottish government has called for the human right to food to be put into law in Scotland.

The move would protect people from rising food insecurity and the impacts of Brexit.


The case for the right to be written into law is stronger than ever with more people relying on food banks to eat and feed their families. Between April 2017 and September 2018 more than 480,000 food parcels were distributed throughout Scotland.

Food is essential for everyone and allows us to live a healthy life. The production, distribution and consumption of food can impact both communities and the environment, stronger measures have to be put in place to improve this impact.

The report highlights health inequalities and diet related illnesses as a concern due to their affect on quality of life and the cost to the health service.


The right to food is protected in international human rights law, which the UK is signed up to. These laws break food down into different elements. Food must be available, accessible, adequate and sustainable.

Due to devolution, the Scottish government is responsible for implementing international laws. But, because this right isn’t written into domestic law it is not enforceable in Scotland.

Now, the SHRC is calling for a rights-based approach to the food system and for the right to food to become a law in Scotland.

This right becoming a law would mean improved health outcomes for people, better access to food, and act as a driver for a stronger human rights culture in Scotland.


The report is open for consultation, allowing the public to have their say on whether the right should become a law and if so, what it should include.

The consultation period is open until 18 April 2019 and can be accessed here.

Nourish Scotland has produced an easy guide which helps to break down the questions and how to answer.

Are you following Family Life on Twitter and Instagram? Make sure you do for all the latest updates.

Family Life

Family Life is Scotland's premier lifestyle magazine, packed with recipes, reviews, real life stories and more. Pick up the lates issue FREE in a supermarket near you.

Error: Access Token is not valid or has expired. Feed will not update.
This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

There's an issue with the Instagram Access Token that you are using. Please obtain a new Access Token on the plugin's Settings page.
If you continue to have an issue with your Access Token then please see this FAQ for more information.