POORER parts of Glasgow have been described as “food deserts” as efforts to tackle food poverty are developed.

A council inquiry into food inequality found people in places on the periphery of the city have difficulty accessing food locally.

Milton in the north and Castlemilk in the south were two of those named in a report which were “food deserts” - but council bosses believe other areas are affected too.

They have no main supermarket and poor transport links and low car ownership are leaving people isolated from big stores where food can be cheaper.

Glasgow City Council is looking at ways of easing food poverty and tackling hunger among vulnerable groups and children.

In a report to councillors, Chief Executive, Annemarie O’Donnell, said: “The challenge presented by food inequality and poverty in Glasgow is one of the biggest public health challenges that we face. “Pressures including the rollout of Universal Credit are likely to exacerbate that unless we take effective action.

“Data on the scale of food inequality in Glasgow is likely to be an underestimate due to people feeling ashamed about or embarrassed about having to access emergency support for hunger.”

Ms O’Donnell said the council inquiry highlighted concerns over the limited accessibility to nutritious, affordable food in certain areas.

She added: “The call for evidence highlighted two areas of the city described as ‘food deserts’, Milton and Castlemilk and there will be others.”

The council is looking at solutions on a local level.

Suggestions include tackling food waste with engagement with supermarkets to see if they would be able to reduce their waste by making food available.

Making food available as part of community events and activities and factoring it into funding with community food initiatives being given priority for cash.

The report found that foodbanks in the city were reporting an increase in demand.

One foodbank noted a 78% increase in the space of a year.

The council last year introduced its Holiday Hunger programme where children receive a meal during the summer holidays.

Around £860,000 was allocated to 91 projects to provide around 130,000 meals and snacks to more than 14,500 children last year.