Responding to the Scottish Government’s latest figures on poverty, Scottish Labour’s spokesman for Social Justice, Drew Smith, said:
“I find it quite alarming that the SNP, who have done nothing to tackle the issue of child poverty, are now using the issue as a selling point for independence.
“Under the Scottish Executive child poverty in Scotland fell faster than in the rest of the UK. Since the SNP came into power this trend has reversed and for the past five years they have done nothing to support families on lower incomes. In fact the average weekly household pay in Scotland has fallen putting additional burden on families living in poverty.
“The SNP’s hands have not been tied and they have had many powers at their disposal to bring more families out of poverty. They could be doing more to create jobs and provide training for people seeking work, they could be building more affordable homes and addressing pay inequality by extending a living wage into the private sector through public procurement. They could make childcare more affordable and tackle health issues and fuel poverty.
“Instead they simply move the blame from themselves onto the UK Government and make empty promises of a fair welfare system for Scotland. This in the same week when their own expert panel state that there will be a lengthy transition period for the welfare system and even under the panacea of independence Scotland will continue to share a system with the rest of the UK.”
Accompanying tables show that median equivalised weekly household income has fallen by £52 per year before housing costs and £416 per year after housing costs.
Before housing costs After housing costs
2009/10 £23,972 £21,632
2010/11 £22,724 £20,332
2012/12 £22,672 £19,916
Follow Drew on Twitter: @DrewSm1th