CHILD POVERTY

Baillie wants more cash for kids

By Lucy Ashton

Baillie Jackie MSP fishingJackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton constituency, has called on the Scottish Government to back Scottish Labour’s plan to increase child benefit. The plan to increase child benefit by £260 a year would help almost 14,000 children in Argyll and Bute and almost 17,000 children in West Dunbartonshire.

According to the most recent figures, 13,830 children in Argyll and Bute qualify for child benefit, coming from over 8,000 families. In West Dunbartonshire, 17,740 children are entitled to child benefit meaning 10,785 families would benefit from the uplift.

Previous research from the Give Me 5 campaign suggested that Scottish Labour’s planned top up could lift as many as 30,000 children out of poverty across Scotland.

Jackie, pictured, said: “Families across West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute are struggling to keep up with the cost of living as their wages fail to meet the rising cost of food and fuel.

“Labour’s plan to increase child benefit by £260 per year will help more than 30,000 children across West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute.

“Despite gaining more and more powers, Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP government has done nothing to tackle poverty and inequality in our communities. Instead of ending Tory austerity they have doubled-down on it.

“I hope that the Scottish Government will see sense and use their powers to back Labour’s plan ensuring that struggling families get the help that they need.”

Meanwhile, Ms Baillie has highlighted an increase in the number of children in severe working poverty in Parliament during Challenge Poverty Week.

New figures have revealed that 15% of children in Scotland are living in severe poverty. With the highest proportion of children in severe poverty from homes where only part-time work is available at 24%.

Severe poverty is defined as living in a household with an income less than half of the national average.

This week, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s ‘Poverty in Scotland’ report also highlighted part time work along with women being locked out of the labour market as drivers of poverty.

The MSP said:  “As MSPs, we have a duty to challenge poverty in our communities and right across Scotland.  This week, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlighted part-time working and women being locked out of the labour market as drivers of poverty.

“With one in four children from part-time working households living in severe poverty, it is clear that our economy is not working for working people.  It is time that the Scottish Government took this issue seriously and ensured that hard working people had equal access to a labour market that ensured a fair wage and gave families stability.”

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