By Democrat reporter

The SNP Government must act urgently to provide direct and immediate financial support to low income families, at least equivalent in value to the forthcoming Scottish Child Payment of £10 per week per child, Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has said.

Jackie Baillie can reveal that there has been an 87% increase in West Dunbartonshire’s unemployment levels since last year. There has also been a huge 137% increase in unemployment in Argyll and Bute.

In June this year there were 4810 people receiving unemployment payments in West Dunbartonshire compared to 2570 in June last year – and many of those with children are likely to be struggling to make ends meet. Similarly in Argyll and Bute, 3225 people are receiving unemployment payments in June this year compared to 1360 in June last year.

Jackie Baillie said: “More and more families across Scotland are facing financial hardship, but the SNP Government is failing to provide the direct and immediate support needed.

“Added to this, rising unemployment means that unless the furlough scheme is extended, and a quality Jobs Guarantee Scheme is introduced, even more households will find they cannot make ends meet.

“While the forthcoming Scottish Child Payment has been welcomed, the SNP Government have delayed its start date and it will not start to reach families until 2021, but so many families need help right now.

“Anti-poverty organisations from across Scotland have repeatedly called for the Scottish Government to bring forward a payment equivalent to the SCP as soon as possible.

“The levels of new unemployment in both West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute is cause for concern and highlights the extent to which working people have been economically affected by Covid-19. Argyll and Bute’s economy largely relies on tourism and hospitality. This is one of the hardest hit sectors.

“The Scottish Government has both the ability and moral obligation to do this.”

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