I am calling on the Scottish Government to bring forward a Good Food Nation Bill to the Scottish Parliament which has tackling food poverty and the right to food at its heart. Recent figures from the Food Foundation show that more than 200,000 children in Scotland live in households that are unlikely to afford a healthy diet. This is a scandal in twenty-first century Scotland.

The Scottish Government has promised legislation on food for a number of years and now it is, at last, consulting on this. In September I was pleased to vote for a Scottish Labour amendment which was passed by the Scottish Parliament calling for legislation to tackle food poverty. It is therefore discourteous of the SNP Government that they are ignoring the settled view of the Scottish Parliament which supported our calls for a right to food to be included in legislation. I want the Scottish Government to respect the will of the Scottish Parliament and bring forward a Bill to enshrine the right to food in legislation.

Representing the Highlands and Islands, I know just how important food and drink is to our economy and I know that there are lots of great examples of food and drink production across our country. We should be seeking to build on our strengths and looking to make sure that the public sector, and others, support local food production and environmentally sensitive food production. We must also make sure that people have a right to food in modern Scotland, so that the 200,000 children at risk of an unhealthy diet have a chance of a better and healthier life. We’ve had enough of warm words and reheated strategies served up to us. We need action – we need legislation.

As a Scottish Co-operative Party MSP, I am pleased that the Scottish Co-operative Party is organising a campaign around food justice. Access to good quality food was fundamental to the foundation of the co-operative movement. In Ayrshire in 1761, 16 weavers in Fenwick formed the Fenwick Weavers’ Society bringing together their weaving work, by 1769 they had added the purchase and sale of ‘victuals’ to their activities, making them perhaps the first co-operative food store in the world. Fighting for the right to healthy affordable food is as relevant now as it was then.

I am calling for the Scottish Government to bring forward legislation which tackles food poverty and gives everyone in Scotland the right to food. If you agree please sign our petition.