Readers' letters: Child poverty in Scotland is improving

“Poverty is a political choice, one the Scottish government is not willing to make”

The new child poverty payment should be doubled within a year say campaigners.
The new child poverty payment should be doubled within a year say campaigners.

Child poverty in Scotland improving

Alex Cole-Hamilton is wrong about the SNP failing to “move the dial on child poverty” (News, 28 July).

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Data from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) shows that over the last 20 years the child poverty rate has fallen much further in Scotland compared to England, 24 per cent versus 31 per cent for 2016/19.

JRF said, “the Scottish government’s decisive and compassionate move to bring in the new Scottish Child Payment is the lifeline children and their families need, and is a beacon of progressive policy for the rest of the UK.”

It called this “the most progressive policy brought in since devolution 20 years ago,” that will turn the tide on child poverty in Scotland, benefiting 400,000 children and freeing 30,000 from poverty.

JRF acknowledged that the Scottish government’s policy mitigated the worst impacts of the UK government’s savage cuts to the social security system.

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That was two years ago. Now the Scottish government is expanding the £10 per week child payment to include children 16 and under and it will double the Scottish Child Payment.

Most social welfare spending is reserved to Westminster and we can expect additional Tory cuts. Already, the £20 per week Universal Credit uplift will end in October.

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Poverty is a political choice, one the Scottish government is not willing to make. If Mr Cole-Hamilton wants to lead a relevant opposition party and sleep well, he must accept that restoring Scottish independence is the only way to eradicate poverty.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Merchiston Crescent, Edinburgh.

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Children in care need an advocate

As a coalition that support vulnerable children and young people, we were delighted to note recent Scottish government legis-lation supporting siblings in care to be kept together, where appropriate.

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However, over the years a flurry of legislation has been implemented to improve the lives of those who are care-experienced, most recently with these new rules, and yet in many cases this has failed to be upheld.

To ensure such rights are protected, an independent advocate can help individuals access these, the benefits that they are entitled to and guide them through legal processes if that is what is required.

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The outcome from the recent Independent Care Review welcomingly pointed to ensuring that by 2024 all care-experienced children and their families will have access to independent advocacy at all stages of their experience of care.

As a nation we must aim to ensure care-experienced children, young adults and families can navigate the system of care without such extra support. However, advocates will be required for as long as the care system remains complex and does not provide these individuals with the support they need.

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If our care system and those with an involvement with care experienced people are committed to improving their lives, a promise made clear in the Care Review, access to independent advocacy is crucial in delivering this.

Kenny Graham, Lynn Bell, Stephen McGhee, Niall Kelly, The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition, Edinburgh.

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Party of state

The official SNP twitter account has tweeted: ‘We’re investing £70 million in Scotland’s young people’s futures’. There are reasons to be surprised by this claim.

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Governments invest in national schemes, not political parties. This claim is a clear illustration of the way in which the SNP has merged party and state. The party arrogates to itself the right to speak for the government.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh.