Poverty Gap

August 13th, 2011

Anybody leafing through the Sunday papers a few weekends ago would have been forgiven for coughing up their cornflakes.

The Sunday Times Rich List gives us an annual insight into the how the other half live, detailing the mind-boggling figures that fund the lavish-lifestyles of the super-rich.

With their mansions all over the world, yachts the size of football pitches and billions in the bank, it is easy to envy the lives of the Lakshmi Mittals and the Roman Abramovichs.

Yet a recent report detailing the lives of the people at the other end of the spectrum was published to considerably less fanfare.

The Poverty Alliance has revealed that more than 200,000 children are still living in poverty across the country.

And last year, the proportion of working age adults in relative poverty actually increased.

As we all know, Scotland is bracing itself for severe benefit cuts that will impact pensioners and the low-paid, pay freezes in the public sector and considerable increases in the cost of living through rising petrol, VAT and food prices.

That would indicate that the gap between those at the top and those at the bottom is set to drift even further apart unless action is taken

But there is a better way and I want the SNP Government to support the Poverty Alliance’s 100 Day Challenge.

Scotland has the powers to provide work for the unemployment, a living wage for the low-paid, educational and training opportunities for young people and relief for hard-working families.

The traditional inequalities between the rich and poor are nothing new to an area like Inverclyde, and we have worked hard to bridge the gap.

Only by setting and achieving these priorities can we can achieve our ambition for a fairer Scotland.