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We fund a number of organisations to deliver anti-poverty initiatives in Glasgow. Those include advice services delivered by Macmillan Cancer Support, the citizens advice network and One Parent Families Scotland and a range of initiatives with the likes of Glasgow Disability Alliance, the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, the Fair Share Trust, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector that are aimed at helping people who are affected by poverty and welfare reform.
I hope that the new maternity and early years allowance that the Scottish Government is rolling out will help some of the poorest families in the communities that I represent in Glasgow. I ask the cabinet secretary for some more details on the roll-out of that new allowance and on how many people are likely to benefit in Glasgow.
For a family with two children, the maternity and early years allowance means £1,900-worth of support over the children’s early years, compared with the £500 that is available now. Under the sure start maternity grant, the payment at birth for a first child will increase from £500 to £600 and, reversing the United Kingdom coalition Government’s decision to restrict payments to the first child, we will introduce a £300 payment for second and subsequent children.
However, we also recognise that the disadvantages of poverty affect children not just at birth but at other key stages of their young lives. Therefore, we will make payments of £250 to support families through the transition when children start nursery and again at the start of school.
That is an example of the fairer social security system that we want to achieve in Scotland and of how we are redistributing resources in favour of the most vulnerable members of our society.
I had thought that Mr Doris might declare an interest, given the recent happy birth of his son Cameron. I congratulate him and Mrs Doris on that.
Does the cabinet secretary acknowledge that the good work that Glasgow City Council does in tackling poverty in the city will be vastly affected by the cut of some £130 million as a result of his Government’s funding settlement to the city?
The overall cut to the local government budget is less than 1 per cent of the total revenue expenditure after taking account of the additional money that is being put into social care, so there will be no excuse for Labour-controlled Glasgow City Council to make Glasgow a less fair city than it is.