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Scottish Government Debate: Scottish Government Priorities: Eradicating Child Poverty (BSL)

Tuesday 11 June 2024 2:18 PM


John Swinney S6M-13566 That the Parliament agrees that eradicating child poverty is a national mission for the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament and society; welcomes the progress made in delivering the Best Start, Bright Futures: Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2022-2026, with spend benefitting children in low-income households increasing to an estimated £1.4 billion in 2023; recognises the balance of action required across the three drivers of poverty reduction, which are income from employment, the cost of living and income from social security, as well as the need to drive improvements in wellbeing and outcomes for children and families; warns of the threat that UK Government austerity poses to the action and ambition of the Scottish Government in eradicating child poverty; notes modelling that estimates that 100,000 children will be kept out of relative poverty in the current year as a result of Scottish Government policies; further notes modelling that estimates that a further 40,000 children in Scotland could be lifted out of poverty were the UK Government to make key changes to social security, including by introducing an Essentials Guarantee and abolishing the two-child limit, and calls on the incoming UK administration to work collaboratively with the Scottish Government and to follow Scotland’s lead in taking ambitious anti-poverty action. Douglas Ross S6M-13566.3 As an amendment to motion S6M-13566 in the name of John Swinney (Scottish Government Priorities: Eradicating Child Poverty), leave out from "warns" to end and insert "notes that around 24% of children live in poverty in Scotland and that this rate has remained largely unchanged since 2007; recognises that the number of children in temporary accommodation has reached over 9,000, which is an 8% increase on the previous figure; calls on the Scottish Government to use the powers that it has to take action, rather than produce more strategies, to tackle child poverty; notes that the Scottish Government has abandoned plans to close the poverty-related attainment gap and that its plans to roll out free childcare have been described as ‘fragile’; agrees that the Scottish Government has failed to deliver all of the devolved benefits that could help tackle child poverty; regrets that the Scottish Government is reportedly returning £450 million of EU structural funds that could be used to tackle child poverty, and calls on the Scottish Government to work constructively with the UK Government to ensure that all children get the best start in life." Paul O'Kane S6M-13566.2 As an amendment to motion S6M-13566 in the name of John Swinney (Scottish Government Priorities: Eradicating Child Poverty), leave out from first "eradicating" to end and insert "child poverty should be a national mission for the Scottish Government, but deeply regrets that after 17 years of a Scottish National Party (SNP) administration, child poverty levels, after housing costs, have remained static, and that the most recent child poverty single-year statistics estimate that the number of children in Scotland living in poverty has now increased in 2022-23 to 260,000; acknowledges that the Poverty and Inequality Commission’s Scrutiny Report, published last week, provided a damning assessment of the SNP administration’s progress on tackling child poverty across a number of areas, noting that progress from the Scottish Government 'is slow or not evident at all'; disagrees with the Scottish Government’s decisions to slash the affordable housing budget, freeze the Scottish Welfare Fund, abandon parental employability schemes and decimate the Fuel Insecurity Fund, all of which act as barriers to prevent more children in Scotland falling into poverty; recognises that SNP inaction has been coupled with 14 years of dire economic mismanagement under the UK Conservative administration, which has led to increased child poverty rates across the UK; condemns the fact that, despite professing to tackle child poverty under successive First Ministers, child poverty is increasing, and the Scottish Government is now set to miss its interim reduction targets and its own legally-binding child poverty targets in 2030; urges the Scottish Government to heed the advice of its own expert advisors and take immediate and decisive action to reduce poverty across Scotland in the face of a decade of SNP inaction and failure, and welcomes the Labour Party’s plan to introduce a New Deal for Working People to deliver a real Living Wage, review Universal Credit and build a fairer social security system, tackle the cost of living crisis with a publicly owned clean energy company that would help to pay to keep bills down, paid for with a proper windfall tax on record oil and gas profits, deliver affordable public transport and housing support, end problem debt, and provide help and support for families and households across Scotland."

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