With Holyrood's new powers over social security we have an opportunity to boost the incomes of struggling families and reject the mean-spirited approach of successive Westminster governments.Alison Johnstone MSP
Alison Johnstone MSP, Children & Young People spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (3 July) urged the Scottish Government to act on the recommendations of its independent advisor on poverty, whose new report describes the gap between rich and poor young people as "deeply worrying", a "fundamental unfairness" and a "significant waste of talent and opportunity".
Naomi Eisenstadt's recommendations include:
-Lobby the UK Government on the need for the National Living Wage to apply to all those over 18 years old
-Do more to provide subsidised/free transport for young people aged 25 and under
-Deliver more affordable housing options for young adults
-Ensure that tenants and landlords understand the arrangements for enforcing private rented sector regulations, and that monitoring is in place to make sure the new arrangements work as intended
-The Scottish Government should fund applied research on school and classroom practices that encourage wellbeing and mental health
Alison Johnstone MSP said:
"Reducing inequality in society is a fundamental goal of the Scottish Greens and we have consistently put forward ideas to close the gap and give our young people the best chance in life. With Holyrood's new powers over social security we have an opportunity to boost the incomes of struggling families and reject the mean-spirited approach of successive Westminster governments. An increase of £5 a week in child benefit would lift 30,000 children out of poverty in Scotland and the Scottish Government must consider this.
"We must also do much more to make housing and transport affordable for young people. Green MSPs have helped strengthen tenants' rights in the private rented sector and we want to see the Scottish Government extend concessionary travel to young people to help them meet the cost of travelling to education and work.
"Green MSPs have also pushed to get personal and social education onto the Parliament's agenda, highlighting gaps in mental health support for young people. If we are to address the fundamental unfairness Naomi Eisenstadt talks of, we must take every opportunity we have to lift young people out of poverty."
Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality, The Life Chances of Young People in Scotland, A Report to the First Minister: