SNP welcome fall in child poverty

Welcoming the fall in the number of children living in poverty in Scotland, the SNP's Jamie Hepburn has said this shows the benefit of key decisions being taken in Scotland, and warned that Tory cuts put future progress at risk.

Mr Hepburn, Deputy Convener of the Scottish Parliament's Welfare Reform Committee, said:

"The figures on child poverty in Scotland may be down but they are still far too high.

"Every child in Scotland deserves the best possible start in life and it is for this reason that the SNP launched Scotland’s first ever national strategy to tackle child poverty that will help the poorest families increase their household incomes.

"This is a classic example showing that it is better for decisions about Scotland to be made by those directly elected by the people of Scotland, and not those at Westminster.

"By using the limited powers at our disposal, we have brought many children out of poverty through a range of preventative spending measures, including freezing the council tax, making prescription charges free and combating fuel poverty by increasing funding for fuel poverty schemes for those with young children.

"However, one child in poverty is still one too many, and the UK Government is only hampering our efforts to tackle child poverty and inequality with their vicious welfare benefits reform program.

"The Tories' obsession with cutting the budget deficit above everything else - no matter what the consequences - is putting the long-term future of this country at risk.

"With the limited powers that we have, we have been able to make some progress even in the face of Tory cuts and a recession. Just think what Scotland could achieve in tackling child poverty if our Parliament had the powers of any normal Parliament."