“Tackling child poverty is a critical mission for the Scottish Government” says Beattie

Tuesday June 20th 2023


Colin Beattie MSP, Midlothian North & Musselburgh, writes his monthly column for Midlothian View.

Tackling child poverty is a critical mission for the Scottish Government.

Last week Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville published the Child poverty annual progress report. What the report has highlighted is that because of SNP policies, around 90,000 fewer children are expected to live in relative or absolute poverty this year.

It really is a tale of two governments. In Scotland we are using our limited powers to make a difference to the lives of the most disadvantaged. We introduced the Scottish Child Payment in 2021, this alone has lifted an estimated 50,000 children out of poverty.

In addition to the Scottish Child Payment of £25 a week per child the Scottish Government is doing everything within its means to reduce child poverty.

We have delivered the transformative expansion of free childcare to 1,140 hours for all 3 and 4 year olds, and 2 year olds from low income households. Introduced free school meals to all pupils in primaries 1 to 5, saving families around £400 per child every year. Scotland is the only nation in the UK where all under-22s have free bus travel, saving many Scottish young people £3,000 in lifetime costs compared to the other nations. We have put in place the Baby Box and the Best Start grant providing families on lower incomes with payments at pivotal times in a child’s life.

Only in Scotland can you be assured that tuition fees will remain free, incentivising our most disadvantaged to continue in education, saving over £27,000 in fees compared to England and Wales. While Keir Starmer and Labour have u-turned on a pledge to abolish tuition fees in England we remain committed to delivering free tuition fees in Scotland.

And while the UK is suffering the worst levels of poverty and inequality out of neighbouring countries, small independent nations like Ireland, Belgium or Denmark perform significantly better. We want to go further to protect our young people, lifting more out of poverty and building a fairer society. Only with the full powers of independence, Scotland can unleash its full potential and build a better society.

Tweet Share on Facebook  

Subscribe to the Midlothian View newsletter

Support Midlothian View from as little as £1. It only takes a minute. Thank you.

Comments are closed.