By Bill Heaney
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has backed the End Child Poverty Coalition’s letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon which has called for an immediate doubling of the Scottish Child Payment.
Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions shows that relative child poverty in West Dunbartonshire has risen from 2,549 in 2015 to 3,445. Similarly, children living in absolute poverty in the area has risen from 2,565 to 2,836 from 2015 to 2020.
Jackie Baillie MSP, pictured left, said: “The fact that almost 1,000 more local children have been plunged into relative poverty over the course of five short years is a cause for serious concern.
“Not only are we set to miss our child poverty targets, but we are on track to undo all the progress made tackling child poverty under the last Labour government.
“Once again the gulf between the Scottish Government’s rhetoric and their action is staggering. Just yesterday they launched the Minimum Income Guarantee steering group, but doubling the SCP now is a crucial change that could take so many towards that and they’re dragging their feet.
“Every year that this vital increase is delayed is another year of families missing out – there is no time to waste.
“We have the powers to deal with this injustice in Scotland – all that is missing is the political will.
“In the election Scottish Labour pledged to double this payment immediately. We will continue to demand the government to do the right thing and get this money to those who so urgently need it.”
Meanwhile, Jackie Baillie, has demanded that the Scottish Government freeze rail fares, after news that peak regulated rail fares may increase by 3.8%, in line with RPI for July.
Jackie Baillie MSP said: “It is unjustifiable to hit passengers with the biggest fare hike in a decade right now.
“This will be devastating for those struggling financially, and it is utterly senseless at the very time we need to get people back on to public transport.
“With ScotRail about to be brought into public hands, the SNP need to show they are serious about putting passengers first. This is a chance for them to put their money where their mouth is and put a stop to spiralling fares.
“The SNP must do the right thing and commit to freezing fares next year.”