News: Poverty numbers show urgent need to raise social investment

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Responding to today’s statistics on Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland, Ruth Boyle, Policy & Campaigns Manager at The Poverty Alliance, said: “People in Scotland want a society where we look out for each other and end the injustice of poverty. We can achieve that, but only if we turn those values into concrete action.

“We know that if we are going to hit our legal targets on child poverty, the Scottish Child Payment has to rise to £40 a week. In the last budget the Scottish Government didn’t even raise it to £30.

“We are now just one year away from the interim target, but today’s figures show that child poverty has remained relatively stable. The Scottish Child Payment has been a welcome lifeline for families in poverty, and this data doesn’t yet reflect the full impact of that support. However, the policy package and investment on child poverty is not yet in place to drive progress towards the targets.

“So, we ask the First Minister and political leaders of all the Holyrood parties who unanimously supported the Child Poverty Act – how are you going to strengthen social security and the public services we rely on and raise the investment we urgently need to make those targets a reality?

“We also have questions for the UK Government that has the biggest levers to help people on low incomes. They can increase Universal Credit so it allows people to live with dignity, end the cruel and ineffective sanctions regime, scrap the unjust benefits cap, and remove the two child limit. With a General Election looming, we will be looking for parties to promise that kind of action.

“It is welcome that Scotland now has a wellbeing economy minister, but these statistics show that we are far from having a wellbeing economy. The number of people of working age in poverty has actually gone up, and more than two-thirds of children living in poverty are now in working households.

“The Scottish Government can use powers over procurement and business support to shape an economy where work provides security, dignity, and wages that meet people’s needs. Business leaders can do the right thing by joining Scotland’s growing Living Wage movement.

“These statistics once again show the need for a Minimum Income Guarantee, underpinned by changes to social security, the world of work, and our critical public services, so we can draw a line under poverty for good.”

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