CLARE’S COLUMN IN THE RUTHERGLEN REFORMER

It is a sad reality that children across the UK are continuing to have their chances limited by poverty. Recent figures show that 24% of children in Scotland, and 30% of children in the UK as a whole, are living in poverty.

Such stats show the scale of the challenge we have in tackling deep-rooted poverty, however we must tackle it and do so urgently. Not only to help those living in poverty now but that of future generations too.

I therefore welcome the SNP Scottish Government’s ‘Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan’ which was published last month. Within the report, the Government made a number of different announcements to increase family incomes and reduce living costs.

Such policies include introducing a new income supplement, which will provide financial support to families who need it most. The Scottish Government are currently considering the exact details of the supplement, the level at which it should be set, and those at whom it should be targeted in order to help lift the maximum number of children out of poverty.

Further actions include a new £12 million employment support fund which will help parents in work progress their careers and support unemployed parents into work. Other initiatives include a new national entitlement for the School Clothing Grant, to help with the costs of uniforms and sports kits, and new support for after-school and holiday childcare, helping parents work more flexibly and increase their incomes.

The delivery plan comes after independent analysis found that, if the SNP Government did nothing, Tory welfare cuts would mean 38% of Scottish children would be in relative poverty by 2030/31.

We are fighting poverty with one hand tied behind our back in the face of austerity – that is what is really damaging for Scotland’s children. Under Tory cuts, money being is taken from the pockets of low income families, pushing them into crisis, debt, and poverty, with our public services and emergency aid responding as best they can.

That is why the SNP in government will take decisive action to increase household incomes and reduce costs, supporting children and families here and now.

 

Date published: 11th April 2018

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