Income Supplement To Help Reduce Unacceptable Levels Of Poverty

Our new Income Supplement will help reduce unacceptable levels of poverty

By 03/04/18

There can be no greater responsibility for any government than ensuring that all young people get the best possible start in life.

It is totally unacceptable that, in a country as wealthy as the UK, any child should be living in poverty. But the latest figures show that, over the last three years, almost one in four children in Scotland were living below the poverty line, once housing costs are taken into consideration.

These aren’t just numbers on a page. Behind every figure lies a human story; a child whose living environment, education, health – their entire life chances – are being limited by poverty.

 

The SNP

@theSNP

📈 Tory cuts are pushing up poverty. Here’s what you need to know: https://www.snp.org/the_tory_cuts_that_are_pushing_up_poverty 

Of course, many of the key powers relating to tackling poverty remain reserved to Westminster. And with the Tory government currently engaged in the biggest assault on the welfare state since its creation, no one should be seriously surprised that figures show poverty to be rising.

As long as the Tory government continues down this path – which they seem intent on doing despite evidence of the damage they are doing – the Scottish Government will always be fighting poverty with one arm tied behind our backs.

But frustrating as this is for me, it does not excuse us in the Scottish Government from doing everything we can, with the powers and resources we do have, to tackle poverty and inequality.

On the contrary, it actually makes our actions doubly important – because without further action, we estimate that UK welfare cuts could see the number of kids living in poverty rise to more than one in three by the end of the next decade.

That is not acceptable and we are not prepared to just sit back and let it happen.

Of course, we already doing a lot to support families on low incomes by, for example, supporting the real Living Wage and through measures like free prescriptions, free school meals and the widely-praised Baby Box – and of course through our significant investments in social housing and expanding childcare.

And we’re already spending £100 million a year from the Scottish budget – money that could be spent on services such as schools and hospitals – mitigating some of the worst of the UK welfare cuts, like the Bedroom Tax.

Last year MSPs unanimously backed our ambitious Child Poverty Bill, committing us to eradicating child poverty by 2030.

And last week we published a new Child Poverty Delivery Plan – outlining the new actions we will take to ensure that we’re fully responding to the current challenges facing families.

A lot of work and engagement has gone into this plan. We established our own Poverty and Inequality Commission to ensure that we were getting the best possible expert advice – but crucially we have listened carefully to the views of people with direct experience of poverty themselves.

As a result of their input, we will be focusing on “priority families” which we know are most at risk of poverty – lone parents, families with a disabled adult or child, young mothers, minority ethnic families, families with a child less than a year old, and families with three or more children.

And we are proposing a range of actions to support them.

There is action to tackle the cost of living that families often struggle with.

On top of the existing steps I outlined above, we’re going to introduce new, more targeted measures – such as a guaranteed minimum payment for the School Clothing Grant, £1 million on new practical support for children facing food insecurity during the school holidays, and a new Financial Health Check service to ensure families are maximising their incomes.

There is action to support parents in the workplace – because we know that sustainable, well-paid work is the best long-term route out of poverty – so we will invest millions of pounds in intensive employment support for parents, building on their skills and helping to progress through their careers.

 

The SNP

@theSNP

Child poverty is unacceptable but it’s not inevitable.

Here’s our plan to end it. https://www.snp.org/tackling_child_poverty 

Our plan to tackle child poverty

We are determined to eradicate child poverty in Scotland. We have passed a new Child Poverty Act, published a new action plan and introduced a £50 million fund to step up our efforts.

snp.org

 But perhaps the most radical proposal is a new Income Supplement.

Clearly, maximising incomes is an effective tool in tackling poverty, and I have some sympathy with people who asked us to top up child benefit for everyone. However, doing so would mean that seven out of every ten pounds spent would in fact go to families who are not living in poverty.

We want to see a much more targeted approach, to maximise support for families who need it most.

The Income Supplement is an ambitious policy, and the detail is still to be developed fully – for example, we need to consider the level at which it will be set, who exactly should benefit and what the delivery mechanism will be, as well as crucial issues such as ensuring that the interactions with UK benefits is properly understood. Once it is fully up and running, it will go a long way to reducing the unacceptable levels of poverty.

I don’t pretend that tackling poverty is easy. I’ve been in politics long enough to know that there are no overnight solutions – no quick fixes to what are deep-seated problems.

But I’m absolutely determined that we do not take our eye off the ball for even one moment.

 

This article originally appeared in the Evening Times. 

Source

 

From 3 April Scotland’s new £96m devolved employment support schemes begin work.

How will the SNP Scottish Government use powers over employment support services?

In April 2017, new transitional employment support services, Work First Scotland and Work Able Scotland, were put in place ahead of the full roll-out next year. In the first six months, almost 3,500 people joined the new transitional employability services which support individuals with disabilities and health conditions.

Devolved, Powers, Sanctions
From 3 April Scotland’s new £96m devolved employment support schemes begin work.

An additional £20 million of funding for the services will ensure up to 4,800 disabled people and people with health conditions will receive help to get into work.

From April 2018 a new £96 million Fair Start Scotland will replace these temporary schemes, aiming to help at least 38,000 people find work. The scheme, like the transitional services, will be voluntary so participants will not face the threat of Tory benefit sanctions if they are using our services.

 

Brendan O’Hara At Inveraray Against The Closure of RBS Branch

The SNP National Day Of Action

Sign Petition by clicking here.

If you are in, or can get to Inveraray today please join Brendan O’Hara and sign the petition against the closure of the Royal Bank Of Scotland.

The Local Aye Fyne! Group will have members there offering support too.

I spent most of today in Inveraray talking to people and business owners about the proposed closure of the Royal Bank of Scotland, the last remaining bank in the town.

Source: Closure of RBS Branch In Inveraray

SNP Government doing ‘far better than Westminster’ on child health

DOCTORS have praised the Scottish Government for doing “far better than Westminster” on child health policies such as breastfeeding and tackling childhood obesity, but warned that urgent action is still needed in areas such as GP training and reviewing child deaths.

A report by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health scored Scotland, England and Wales on their performance against a series of key recommendations a year on from a landmark report by the professional body.

Full Story on The Herald

DOCTORS have praised the Scottish Government for doing “far better than Westminster” on child health policies such as breastfeeding and…

Source: SNP Government doing ‘far better than Westminster’ on child health

Additional Funding For NHS Winter Resilience

£8.4 million to support different ways of working in winter

Source: Additional funding for NHS winter resilience

NHS Boards will receive an additional £8.4 million for resilience this winter ahead of the busy Christmas and New Year period.

The funding supports implementation of Sir Lewis Ritchie’s report on public holiday working across health and social care, published today, which outlines a range of recommendations that will support people to transfer seamlessly through the system without delay. These include:

  • well-co-ordinated, multidisciplinary urgent health and social care provision across the whole care system
  • sufficient levels and numbers of senior decision makers from all sectors rostered
  • NHS 24 providing enhanced support for self-management and direction to the right service where needed
  • promoting community pharmacies as a source of advice and medicines
  • proactive discharge planning in advance of public holidays

The emerging findings have been shared in the past few months across the NHS and have already been incorporated into winter planning. This will provide an additional platform for health boards and integration authorities to align existing practices and staffing to support optimum access to services over public holiday periods.

Total investment for health and social care services to deal with winter pressures and unscheduled care will now be a record high of £22.4 million this year.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said:

“This additional funding, a record level for any one year, will help the provision of services throughout Christmas and New Year.

“We expect challenges over winter and NHS boards are coping well with the demands placed on them so far. Thousands of NHS, social care, independent and third sector staff work extremely hard on public holidays and throughout the year, providing a lifeline of care and support to patients across Scotland.

“Boards have already made progress implementing the recommendations Sir Lewis and his team put forward in their planning and preparation this winter. Going forward I would expect partnership and professional organisations to be fully engaged in the design and delivery of all planned changes to services and the workforce.

“Sir Lewis’s report, supported by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, the Royal College of GPs and the National Out of Hours Group amongst others, highlights that we are on the right track in prioritising service change at local level and that community pharmacies and NHS 24 are available  throughout winter to keep people healthy.”

Sir Lewis Ritchie said: “Getting urgent and emergency care right is of paramount importance for the people of Scotland and for those who provide care for them. Significant progress is already underway – our report calls for further rapid and cohesive whole system action. We will need to do this with resolve to do this well, and to do this together.”

David Chung, Vice-President Royal College of Emergency Medicine Scotland (RCEM) says: RCEM Scotland would like to thank Scottish Government for its willingness to acknowledge, and attempt to moderate the effects of public holidays on health and social care in Scotland. This exercise has only been possible through the combined efforts of many collaborating to provide guidance for the system, and we are grateful to everyone for engaging and giving their time and expertise to this issue. We hope it will be one of many such collaborative efforts to provide the best health and social care for Scotland in times to

Inquiry into disability benefits ‘deluged’ by tales of despair

More than 3,000 people have written to work and pensions committee in despair at system, many saying they have been driven to suicidal thoughts

Source: Inquiry into disability benefits ‘deluged’ by tales of despair

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