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Poverty

– in the Scottish Parliament on 21st November 2019.

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Photo of Angela Constance Angela Constance Scottish National Party

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, has claimed that the

Government is not responsible for poverty. Does the First Minister agree that every Government, including hers, has a responsibility and duty to end poverty? Will she outline our responsibilities and the action that the Scottish Government is taking to address poverty here in Scotland?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Yes, I think that every Government, including the Scottish Government, has a responsibility to tackle poverty. The Scottish Government takes that responsibility seriously. For example, we are spending more than £100 million a year to mitigate the worst impacts of Tory welfare cuts and taking a range of actions to get money into the pockets of the lowest paid and the poorest in our society. Most recently, we have announced plans for the Scottish child payment. We have set up the new social security system, which is putting more money into the pockets of carers and low-income families and which has dignity at its heart. Of course, Angela Constance is to be credited for a great deal of work that led to that.

On the current United Kingdom Government, the point is not just that it has a responsibility to help tackle poverty; it has a responsibility to acknowledge that it is responsible for an increase in poverty in this country because of its austerity and welfare cuts. Everybody should reflect seriously on that. I think that most people will be wondering what on earth Priti Patel was talking about when she made that ridiculous and completely outrageous comment.