Following shocking figures from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation revealing the scale of poverty in Scotland, Iain Gray MSP and Martin Whitfield MP are urging governments at Holyrood and Westminster to do more to tackle the growing problem.
Scottish data from the foundation’s ‘UK Poverty 2018’ report has revealed 1 million people in Scotland are living in poverty, of which 230,000 are children, 140,000 are pensioners and 630,00 are working age people.
The figures emerged just days after the latest East Lothian Foodbank collections at local Tesco stores which both Mr Gray and Mr Whitfield were involved in supporting.
The politicians said the figures should spur immediate action from the SNP government ahead of the Scottish budget, and restated calls to life the two-child cap on tax credits and increase Child Benefit by £5 per week.
Iain Gray MSP said:
“These figures reveal the shameful scale of poverty and inequality in Scotland. There is something seriously wrong when one million people in Scotland are living in poverty and it proves that the Tories and the SNP are failing people across Scotland.
“They also demonstrate the need for a budget from Derek Mackay next week that takes urgent action to lift people out of poverty. We have the chance to different choices in Scotland, by using the powers delivered by the 2016 Scotland Act.
“Scottish Labour wants to see a £5 per week top up to Child Benefit, and an end to the two-child cap on tax credits. These are tangible measures that will help lift people out of poverty.”
Martin Whitfield MP said:
“These latest figures from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation underline the scale of the problem facing us in Scotland. The fact that nearly a quarter of a million of children are now growing up in poverty as their parents are unable to escape insecure work and low pay is a damning indictment of government failure.
“The figures also show why so many people are being left with no option but to seek help from foodbanks. East Lothian Foodbank does an excellent job supporting people in need, but it is unacceptable that so many people are facing these dire circumstances in the first place.
“It is time for Governments at Westminster and Holyrood to acknowledge the scale of the problem and take action to help people out of poverty.”