More children than ever before are growing up hungry in Scotland

James Kelly MSP and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

By Democrat reporter

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has had to admit that child poverty levels in her own constituency of Govan in Glasgow are too high.

Labour MSP James Kelly told the Holyrood parliament: “This week, data from the University of Loughborough was published that revealed that child poverty levels in Glasgow are running at 37 per cent.

“In the First Minister’s Glasgow Southside constituency, levels are at 46 per cent, the highest of any constituency in Scotland.

“At a time when we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Scottish Parliament, the fact that children are growing up in poverty in Nicola Sturgeon’s constituency is a damning criticism of this Government.

“All over Glasgow, children are growing up hungry and in overcrowded houses. The time for soft words and platitudes is over. What will the First Minister do with the powers at her disposal to give those kids some hope and lift them out of poverty?”

Nicola Sturgeon replied: “As I have said previously, child poverty in Scotland is too high, but child poverty is lower in Scotland than it is in any other part of the United Kingdom.

“However, it is still too high. That is why we are taking action to mitigate the impact of welfare cuts; providing more support to low-income families through, for example, the best start grants; tackling the root causes of poverty; and investing record sums in affordable housing across the country. It is also why we will bring forward plans for an income supplement.

“James Kelly is right to raise the issue, but I note that he wants to characterise it as all somehow being the fault of the Scottish National Party Government.

“Interestingly, the End Child Poverty report that was published yesterday found that Wales was the only part of the UK where there has been an overall increase in the percentage of children in poverty in the past year, and the Welsh Government said that that was entirely down to UK Government welfare cuts and, in particular, universal credit.

“Why is it that James Kelly’s colleagues in Wales can see what the root causes of poverty in this country are, but the Scottish Labour Party cannot?

“It would fit the Scottish Labour Party better if it supported the work that this Government is doing and joined us in asking for all welfare policies to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament.”

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