A Scottish homelessness charity has accused Richard Leonard of using an image of their soup kitchen for “political gain”.
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard posted the image on social media on Saturday afternoon, blasting the SNP for failing to addresses issues of poverty and inequality in the country, instead focusing on independence.
However, Homeless Project Scotland has now said they are “appalled and disappointed” that Mr Leonard has used the image for “political gain”, and have accused the leader of Scottish Labour of failing to take any interest in the charity.
Mr Leonard’s tweet read: “While the SNP rattle their sabres over independence, this is the scene outside a soup kitchen in Glasgow.
“The SNP has failed the people of Scotland and have no desire to take the radical action that we need to eradicate poverty and inequality in Scotland.”
Homeless Project Scotland is a charity that supports Scotland’s homeless and struggling families.
They run soup kitchens on a regular basis and provide an average of 2,500 meals per week to homeless people in Scotland.
In a tweet posted on Saturday evening, they said they were “appalled and disappointed” at Mr Leonard’s use the charity’s image “for political gain.”
They said: “He never contacted us and has never shown our charity any interest. [He] didn’t have the courtesy to acknowledge our charity in his tweet.
“Do you even know who we are?”, the charity tweeted.
It is believed the picture of the soup kitchen was originally posted on Instagram by Missing Records Glasgow.
Speaking to The Herald, Colin McInnes, Chairman for the Homeless Project Scotland Charity said: “I think Richard Leonard should put his politics aside and actually roll up his sleeves and try helping out at a soup kitchen.
“We’re an apolitical charity”, he added. “We don’t have government funding, we don’t have council funding.
“Our charity runs to benefit the homeless people and vulnerable families across Scotland, and our image shouldn’t be tarnished.”
The charity released a statement on Sunday afternoon inviting all political leaders to engage with Homeless Project Scotland.
Their statement read: “As a non-political charity, our response today has been to invite the leaders of ALL parties, to witness our work so they can speak with knowledge of the current homeless issues on the streets of Scotland.
It comes as the SNP’s annual conference is under way this weekend, in a series of online events.
Yesterday Education Secretary John Swinney announced that all primary school children would receive free breakfast and lunch meals all year round.
The Deputy First Minister set out this latest step in the drive to tackle child poverty, with the programme being implemented from August 2022, which would make Scotland the first nation in the UK to offer universal free primary school meals, if the SNP are re-elected in May.
Richard Leonard said: “I am sorry that my tweet did not credit the work of Homeless Project Scotland, and the exemplary work of its volunteers in supporting people affected by homelessness.
“Under my leadership, Scottish Labour is committed to eradicating poverty and homelessness in Scotland, and we support the work of all charities working to this end.
“I have helped out at Glasgow soup kitchens before, and I hope to again in the near future. I am looking forward to engaging with Homeless Project Scotland and discussing how Scottish Labour can support its work across communities and in Parliament.”
If you wish to make a donation to Homeless Project Scotland, you can do so here.