29 November 2006

S2M-5172 Child Poverty

Scottish Parliament

Wednesday 29 November 2006

[THE DEPUTY PRESIDING OFFICER opened the meeting at 14:30]
… … …
Child Poverty

The Deputy Presiding Officer (Murray Tosh): The final item of business is a members' business debate on motion S2M-5172, in the name of Jackie Baillie, on ending child poverty in Scotland. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.

Motion debated,

That the Parliament agrees that it is unacceptable that children living in severe poverty in Scotland are missing out on basic necessities such as fresh, nutritious food, new clothes and shoes and having a warm home in the winter; welcomes Save the Children's campaign to end child poverty, which highlights the effects for children and their families of living in severe and persistent poverty; acknowledges the progress made by the Scottish Executive in lifting 100,000 children in Scotland out of poverty and helping children in the Dumbarton constituency and across Scotland to improve their life chances, and believes that more needs to be done and that the Executive should prioritise the needs of the very poorest children and continue to work with the UK Government in implementing solutions, such as child seasonal grants, proposed as part of the Save the Children campaign.

… … …

Stewart Stevenson (Banff and Buchan) (SNP): I welcome the opportunity to participate in this important debate, which Jackie Baillie has secured. The number of Scottish National Party members in the chamber is a clear indication of the priority that we in the SNP place on the issue. Of course, the facts provided by various pieces of research reinforce the need to engage with the subject.

Figures from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation indicate that, in the most deprived ward in my parliamentary constituency, 44.4 per cent of children aged between zero and 15 are dependent on the workless, which is one definition of poverty. Although the overall figure for the Aberdeenshire Council area is 10.5 per cent, a significant number of wards are in serious difficulties. In the City of Edinburgh Council area, which by that definition has twice the overall level of poverty of the rural area of Aberdeenshire, the figure for the most deprived ward is 59.6 per cent, so three out of every five children meet the test of being dependent on the workless. In Glasgow, where the overall figure is a startling 39.4 per cent, the figure for Parkhead, the most deprived ward, is 63.4 per cent. At the other end of the scale in Glasgow, the figure for Jordanhill is 4.2 per cent. The localisation of deprivation is one of the key challenges for Governments—here and at Westminster—and local authorities, whatever their complexion.

In Jackie Baillie's constituency, the percentage of children aged between zero and 15 who are dependent on the workless is 28.8 per cent overall and 44.1 per cent in the most deprived ward. The reason why she perhaps brought the debate to Parliament is that the figure for the least deprived ward is 10.1 per cent, which is the overall figure for the whole of Aberdeenshire, which tells us a little bit about something. The issue should engage MSPs and should be debated.
I am glad that, in the past couple of weeks, Gordon Brown has appeared on GMTV to nail his colours to the mast. Of course, I remain sceptical until I hear what he has to say, but he is a man of good will—I hope. However, if he decides to introduce seasonal grants, as requested by the campaign that will be launched immediately after the debate, he must not rob Peter to pay Paul but add new money to the pot of support for the neediest families in our society.

In the 25-country European Union, the United Kingdom is ranked 21st in the league table of child poverty. Of the long list of countries that escaped from the Soviet Union in the 1990s—hardly an economically successful group—only Slovakia and Poland are ranked lower. All the other such countries, which had to struggle out of serious deprivation, are doing better than the UK. That shows how far we still have to come and the steps that we must take to get to where we need to be.

At the moment, the website is running a poll on whether child poverty can be beaten. Although only 70 people had voted when I looked at the site, 70 per cent of them thought that, with proper investment, the problem could be solved. Let us do so—and soon.


Stewart Stevenson
does not gather, use or
retain any cookie data.

However Google who publish for us, may do.
fios ZS is a name registered in Scotland for Stewart Stevenson

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP