Steven Paterson, MP for the Stirling constituency, has said that the Scottish Government’s decision to take a leading role in eradicating child poverty in Scotland is the right approach when faced with a cynical UK Government that has abandoned its own commitment.
The First Minister announced earlier this year that her programme for government includes a Child Poverty Bill that with enshrine into Scottish legislation a clear commitment to lifting Scotland’s children out of poverty, giving everyone a fair start in life. This comes after the UK Government pulled back on much of its commitment by repealing large parts of the Child Poverty Act 2010 – including income-based child poverty targets.
Recent figures from the charity End Child Poverty show that 3,217 children are living in poverty in the Stirling area – a rate of 18.8% after housing costs are taken into account.
Broken down by council ward, those figures are:
Trossachs and Teith – 15.77%
Forth and Endrick – 11.27%
Dunblane and Bridge of Allan – 8.99%
Castle – 27.87%
Stirling West – 18.37%
Stirling East – 25.12%
Bannockburn – 23.78%
Steven Paterson said:
“In a modern caring society, one of the most important things we can possibly do is work to ensure that everyone gets a fair start in life. The Scottish Government is taking forward this commitment by enshrining it into Scottish law and setting out a framework for delivery.
“It is completely unacceptable that 19% of children in my constituency are living in poverty. Whilst the Tory UK Government has pulled back on its commitment to tackle child poverty as has continued to cut welfare to low income families, the SNP Scottish Government has rightly to taken forward its own plans to eradicate child poverty and build a Scottish social security system with compassion and respect at its heart. Over the course of this parliament, the Scottish Government will also launch baby boxes for new-borns in Scotland – ensuring that all parents and children have support in the earliest stages of a person’s life.
“The contrast between the UK and Scottish Governments on an issue as important as child poverty and the opportunities of young people could not be more blatant – the Tories in Westminster would do well to pay close attention to the Scottish Government’s compassionate lead on this matter.”
Commenting, SNP Group Leader on Stirling Council and member of the Tackling Poverty and Inequalities Group Cllr Scott Farmer said:
“Tackling wealth and opportunities inequality is vital to building a fair society for everyone. The SNP Group that I lead on Stirling Council is committed to working with the Scottish Government to bring an end to the dire levels of child poverty we see today.
“I have met with the Education Secretary, John Swinney, to discuss how we can empower schools in Stirling to close the attainment gap. It is unacceptable that children from poorer backgrounds do not have the same opportunities as those from wealthier areas.”