Let’s see fi­nally an end to poverty in 2017

Rutherglen Reformer - - Reformer View -

With new pow­ers over tax­a­tion and so­cial se­cu­rity com­ing to the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment, 2017 has the po­ten­tial to be the year that we make a mean­ing­ful dif­fer­ence to the lives of peo­ple on low in­comes.

Over the past year, the Poverty Al­liance has worked with peo­ple with di­rect ex­pe­ri­ence of poverty to find out what their pri­or­i­ties are for the com­ing year and be­yond. These in­cluded sug­ges­tions on the liv­ing wage, as­sess­ments on dis­abil­ity ben­e­fits, so­cial se­cu­rity de­liv­ery and ben­e­fit lev­els.

There is a clear drive to do more about poverty in Scot­land and we must build on this. This is a time to think about the type of Scot­land we want to live in and to be am­bi­tious. Scot­land may not have all of the pow­ers that the Poverty Al­liance and oth­ers called for, but this should not stop us us­ing the ones we do have.

In 2017 im­por­tant new steps will be taken by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment that will help fo­cus at­ten­tion on the press­ing need to take rad­i­cal ac­tion to ad­dress poverty.

Leg­is­la­tion will be brought for­ward to cre­ate a new Child Poverty Act, a So­cial Se­cu­rity Bill will be launched, a new Poverty and In­equal­ity Com­mis­sion will be es­tab­lished and the so­cio-eco­nomic duty will be im­ple­mented.

We must en­sure that all of these op­por­tu­ni­ties are taken to ad­dress the real prob­lems that peo­ple liv­ing on low in­comes tell the Poverty Al­liance about.

We be­lieve the new pow­ers com­ing to Scot­land pro­vide the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to make a real dif­fer­ence in the fight against poverty.

We are call­ing on the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to use these pow­ers to top up child ben­e­fits and means tested ben­e­fits for work­ing age adults.

While poverty is about more than money, it is ul­ti­mately putting money into peo­ple’s pock­ets that makes the most dif­fer­ence. We know that poverty is not in­evitable so we should not ac­cept it. Let’s make 2017 the year that we don’t.

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