Swinney Slams Failure of Child Poverty Strategy

SNP Leader Mr John Swinney MSP today (Monday) slammed Labour's failure to close the poverty gap, as a scathing report revealed that the number of children living in poverty is rising.

Mr Swinney called for an end to the "warm words and sympathy" of the Scottish Executive and demanded that they now accept that devolution has left Scotland without the powers to tackle child poverty.

He highlighted the lack of economic, tax and social security powers as a massive handicap in Scotland's fight against child poverty. Commenting on the current review of the definition of the poverty threshold, Mr Swinney demanded that the Government not move the goal posts in an effort to hide their failure. He said:

"These figures are a damning indictment of Labour's failure. For child poverty to be rising in a country with natural resources as Scotland should be a cause of national shame.

"Scotland is a nation blessed with huge potential, yet this government has allowed more and more children to fall into poverty while all the time they spout the language of social justice.

"The reality is that the Scottish Executive can only ever talk about child poverty. Scotland has no control over the economy, tax, or social security and without it all the Executive can offer is warm words and sympathy. That simply doesn't cut it when we have one third of our children living in poverty.

"The one thing they are doing is preparing to try to hide their failure by shifting the goal posts and redefining poverty. The knee jerk reaction of Labour when faced with a problem is to try to make it disappear by a combination of spin and the fiddling of official figures. They tried this with waiting lists and are preparing to try the same trick with child poverty.

"What they should realise is that every community in Scotland, both in our towns and cities and in our rural areas, can see the poverty that exists under Labour. They can fiddle the figures all they want, but they cannot hide the truth and it will come back to haunt them come Election Day."

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