Speaking during a Holyrood debate on food and drink in Scotland, Martin Whitfield MSP has praised the quality of the county’s food and drink sector and the work of East Lothian Foodbank.

The South Scotland MSP began his speech by referring to the ‘Food and Drink County’ and congratulating everyone in the local food and drink sector on the excellence of their products.

Mr Whitfield also highlighted the huge support from the public for their local producers during the pandemic and efforts of local communities to help combat food poverty, including the continued work of East Lothian Foodbank and other community food groups working across the South Scotland region.

Commenting after his speech, Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“Food and drink are such fundamental and essential parts of our everyday lives and Scotland is fortunate to produce some of the finest food and drink to be found anywhere in the world.

“As Scotland’s Food and Drink County, East Lothian is very much at the heart of this excellence and I was pleased to highlight and congratulate local producers and businesses in the sector during this debate.

“I believe everyone should have the right to access healthy and nutritional food. But, despite our status as a nation where fresh, quality food is plentiful, far too many households are currently struggling with the basics and experiencing food poverty.

“This was already growing pre-Covid but the last 18 months has seen an acceleration in food insecurity, with East Lothian Foodbank and other local community food projects providing a vital lifeline to those in need.

“As I stated during the debate, malnutrition and hunger should simply not exist in 21st century Scotland and enshrining a Statutory Right to Food in Scots Law would deliver the necessary change to eradicate food poverty.

“That’s why I’m so delighted that my colleague Rhoda Grant has lodged her proposal for a draft bill which would see the Right to Food become law. I hope that supporting this proposal will be an early priority for the Scottish Government during this parliament.”