James Kelly MSP
Recent figures from the End Child Poverty Coalition have shown that thousands of children in Rutherglen and Cambuslang are living below the poverty line.
One of the most worrying aspects of this report is that the situation has become worse since 2015.
Young people living in Rutherglen are more likely to be living in poverty than any other town in South Lanarkshire apart from Blantyre and Larkhall.
It is not acceptable that 28 per cent of children in the town are having to live in poverty, meaning that 1,400 kids are having classed as living in poverty with that figure rising to 1,600 in Cambuslang.
From 1997 to 2010, the last Labour government took radical action to combat the disgrace of child poverty and succeeded in lifting almost one million children out of it.
This work has all but been undone by a Tory government that simply does not care, while being worsened by an SNP government that does not have the ambition or will to do anything about it.
As Labour’s shadow finance secretary in Holyrood I put forward our radical plan for an alternative budget that would deliver real change that would top-up child benefit by £5 per week. This has been supported by the Child Poverty Action Group.
However, the SNP refused to accept our progressive proposals and instead have opted to simply tinker round the edges and not take serious efforts to address the challenges facing our communities.
We have been clear that if we use the powers of the Scottish Parliament we can halt austerity, we can protect public services and we can finally be serious about ending the shame of child poverty in Scotland. Douglas Dickie I am sure readers will join me in passing on the best wishes to Douglas Dickie as he moves onto pastures new.
I have known Douglas for well over a decade and in that time he has proven time and time again to be a diligent and committed journalist, as well as the strongest advocate for this community.
In his time as editor the Reformer has gone from strength to strength and while I will be sad to see him leave I want to wish him every success for the future.