Child Poverty Strategy

Last week in Parliament politicians gathered to discuss the Scottish Government’s latest child poverty strategy.

It gave us an opportunity to express a shared ambition and commitment to tackling the issue, and allowed us to recognise that where there is political will, we can make progress as Labour did when in power.

MSP’s from Labour and the SNP voiced their concerns that the welfare reforms being brought forward by the Coalition government will only make matters worse.

Condemning the Coalition is all good and well, but child poverty must also be seen in the context of the Scottish Government’s wider policies. And here their actions fail to match their ambition.

They have said they will eliminate child poverty while at the same time making decisions which will have the exact opposite effect.

They have cut college funding as we know to our cost, leading to a significant reduction in the number of women being able to access further education at James Watt College, hurting their chances of developing their skills and their careers.

They have cut the urban regeneration budget in Inverclyde by 70% making it tougher for our area to attract industry, businesses and create jobs.

They have also cut the housing budget leading to an increase in rents. Indeed, since the SNP came to power, the average weekly rent charged by social landlords in Inverclyde has increased to £73 – the third highest in Scotland.

And only last week, they failed to support Labour’s calls in the Scottish Parliament to pay workers on government contracts the Living Wage.

None of these decisions made by the SNP will help achieve their stated aim of tackling child poverty. As it is often said, you judge politicians not by what they say, but by their actions.