Rising poverty shows need for Green policies such as topping up benefits & boosting incomes for pregnant women

New figures showing rising poverty and inequality prove the need for Green policies such as topping up benefits, boosting incomes for pregnant women and ending unnecessary assessments for disability payments, according to Scottish Greens social security spokesperson Alison Johnstone MSP.
Statistics published today show that in 2014-17, 16 per cent of people in Scotland - approximately 860,000 - were living in relative poverty, compared to 15 per cent in 2013-16.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

"These new statistics show rising levels of poverty in Scotland with almost one in five people - and one in four children -  living in poverty after the cost of housing is taken into account.  Housing costs are hitting children with families particularly hard, and inequalities in income are getting deeper.

"Throughout the Social Security Bill and Child Poverty Act, the Scottish Greens have pushed for measures that will make a real difference to people's pockets.  Topping up child benefit by £5 a week would lift 30,000 children out of poverty and my amendments to the Child Poverty Act made sure the Government has to consider this in every Child Poverty Delivery Plan.  The Poverty and Inequality Commission agrees that the Delivery Plan should be clear about how the Government plans to use powers to top up and create benefits to meet child poverty targets.  

"I have pushed for a national roll out of the Healthier, Wealthier Children programme, which makes sure pregnant women and families with young children get the financial help they need.  By making sure midwives and health visitors can refer parents directly to trusted money and welfare rights advice, this approach has helped families across Greater Glasgow and Clyde gain almost £16 million since 2010.  I want to see families in all Scotland benefit from this, and after pressing the Minister for Public Health on the progress of the roll out, she confirmed that the Child Poverty Delivery Plan will provide resources to progress this programme. 

"It's crucial that everyone can access the benefits they're entitled to quickly and easily.  That's why I am working to secure an end to unnecessary face-to-face assessments when people are applying for disability benefits.  The Social Security Experience Panels agree that these onerous assessments must stop."  


Recent blog by Alison Johnstone on her approach to Social Security