SNP MSP Ruth Maguire has welcomed a range of Scottish Government proposals to tackle child poverty – including plans for a new income supplement, which will provide financial support to families who need it most.
Increasing family incomes and reducing living costs are prioritised in the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, which sets out how the Scottish Government will meet ambitious legal targets to tackle child poverty.
The Delivery Plan is a key part of Scotland’s Child Poverty Act, which passed into law in December 2017 and sets statutory income targets for reducing child poverty. The Act was introduced by the Scottish Government in response to the UK Tory Government’s disgraceful decision to scrap its own UK-wide child poverty targets – with Scotland now the only part of the UK to have statutory targets for reducing child poverty.
The plan provides £1.35 million new investment for the further education sector to support and scale up preventative approaches, helping to ensure that young people who have grown up in poverty have sustainable routes to positive destinations and out of poverty.
In addition, a new £12 million employment support fund will help parents in work to progress their careers whilst also supporting 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 to work more flexibly and increase their incomes.
The report comes after independent analysis found that, if the Scottish Government did nothing, Tory welfare cuts would mean 38% of Scottish children would be living in relative poverty by 2030/31.
Commenting, Ruth, who sits on Holyrood’s Social Security Committee, said:
“In a country as prosperous as Scotland, no child should have their chances limited by poverty.
“As a member of Holyrood’s Social Security Committee, I had the privilege of scrutinising and strengthening the Child Poverty Act as it made its way through Parliament.
“I’m delighted to see that the first delivery plan to be produced as a result of the Act is full of ambitious and wide-ranging actions to support families and children in North Ayrshire and across Scotland.
“However, as we celebrate Scotland’s step forward, it is important that we reflect on the fact that the actions of the UK Tory Government are pulling us back at the same time.
“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.
“We should remember, too, that Scotland only has its own targets and Act because the UK Tory Government took the disgraceful decision to scrap its own.
“Today’s Delivery Plan demonstrates that only the SNP in government will take action to increase household incomes and reduce costs, supporting children and families here and now.”