Every person in Scotland would have the legal right to food under a bill to ensure no one goes hungry.

Labour MSP Elaine Smith has started a consultation on her Right to Food (Scotland) Bill which has been backed by food charities.

The Bill, if it becomes law, would set up a new body to oversee food policy.

It would also enshrine the human right to food, as recognised by the United Nations, into Scots law.

Ms Smith MSP for Central Scotland said the right to food is neglected in Scotland as more and more people become dependent on food banks.

Ms Smith said the issue has been further highlighted by Manchester United and England star Marcus Rashford who successfully campaigned for free school meals in England to be extended over the summer this year.

Ms Smith said: “As Marcus Rashford demonstrated last week, the right to food is one of the most vital issues in this country and one that is badly neglected.

“In this time of crisis, things that so many of us take for granted, like the availability of healthy food, have been revealed as being of critical importance. Food policy has not been given the priority it deserves by the Scottish Government. With Covid-19 throwing sharp focus on our food system, it is time for that to change.

“No one should be going hungry in a wealthy nation like Scotland. By enshrining the internationally recognised right to food in Scots Law we can send a clear message that hunger has no place in Scotland.”

The MSP has been backed by campaigners for food equality who said it should be the role of the government to make sure food is available for everyone.

Professor Mary Brennan, Chair of the Scottish Food Coalition said: “The Scottish Food Coalition heartily welcomes the launch of Elaine Smith MSP’s consultation on the right to food bill.

“Although the right to food is an established right in international law, the Scottish Food Coalition firmly believes that direct incorporation of the right to food into Scotland’s domestic laws is necessary to ensure that the right is realised for all of our citizens.

 “In practice, realising people’s right to food means that it is the State’s responsibility to ensure that food is available, accessible and adequate for everyone.

“This includes, for example: ensuring that businesses play their part in the sale of safe, nutritious food for all; government takes action to tackle low pay in the food industry; and ensuring a compassionate system of social security which enables people to eat well and access food with dignity.

“I strongly urge everyone to respond to this important consultation on our right to food. The outcomes of which will shape the underlying principles guiding our Scottish food system. This is a matter of basic human rights. Our food system impacts us all and it is time that our laws reflected this and complied with international law.”

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and members of the public will have until 15 September 2020 to make their feelings known on the proposal.