Child Poverty Income Supplement

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 28th March 2019.

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Photo of Elaine Smith Elaine Smith Labour

I am glad that the First Minister agrees that those are shocking reports. We need to push for urgency because, to date, on the Scottish National Party’s watch and fuelled by Tory austerity, child poverty in Scotland continues to rise. The Resolution Foundation report predicts a rise to 29 per cent by 2023. That should be a cause of shame for every elected member in the chamber.

If I heard correctly—I hope that I did—I think that the First Minister has finally listened to Labour’s call for the income supplement to be brought forward. We cannot wait until 2022 at the earliest, because, as Dr Mary Anne MacLeod said,

“promises to help people in three years’ time are of little comfort to parents whose cupboards are empty right now.”

Given that tackling poverty cannot wait, will the First Minister also listen to Scottish Labour, children’s charities, faith groups and academics and immediately implement a £5 supplement to child benefit? That would lift tens of thousands of children out of poverty right now. Or will the First Minister just continue to talk about it while families are struggling below the breadline? Jam tomorrow is no use—