Low-income Families

– in the Scottish Parliament on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Labour

1. To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to tackle inequalities among low-income families. (S5O-04196)

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

Last year, we invested more than £1.4 billion to support low income families, including £522 million for affordable homes, £84 million to tackle fuel poverty and energy efficiency and more than £100 million to mitigate the worst impacts of United Kingdom Government welfare cuts.

The Scottish budget outlines an investment of £3.4 billion in social security spending, including £21 million to introduce our Scottish child payment. By year end, a low-income family with one child in the first year of their life will be entitled to receive an annual total of £1,572 in new Scottish benefits—more than £600 more than they would have got previously in the UK benefits system.

Photo of Anas Sarwar Anas Sarwar Labour

Does the cabinet secretary recognise that the good efforts on social security are undermined by continued cuts to local authorities? I welcome the reversal of the decision to close the Blairvadach outdoor education centre, but fewer cuts does not mean more money. Does she think that a £205 million cut and site closures will help to increase or decrease inequality in Glasgow?

Photo of Aileen Campbell Aileen Campbell Scottish National Party

We believe that we have afforded a fair budget to local government, although we understand that there are lots of challenges across public finances. However, our good efforts—all the things that I outlined in my answer to Anas Sarwar—are being undermined by the continued pursuit of austerity and welfare reforms by the UK Government. Imagine if the Scottish Government did not have to spend more than £100 million to mitigate the worst impacts of welfare reform. I put a hand out to Anas Sarwar and ask him whether he will join us in recognising that we need all the powers over social security and employment to come to the Scottish Parliament. We need independence to be able to properly tackle poverty in the way that we want to in this Government

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