Monday, 28 December 2009



Seizing on the warning by Scotland's children's commissioner that the
UK government’s key goal for tackling child poverty will not be met
next year, SNP Work and Pension’s spokesperson John Mason MP said that
the warning must be a wake up call for Labour Ministers.

The UK Government set the target of halving child poverty in 2010,
ahead of eradicating the problem altogether by 2020. Tam Baillie,
Scotland's Commissioner for Children, said progress made in earlier
years had stalled, and warned the 2010 target would not be achieved

Mr Mason, the MP for Glasgow East, said:

"The children’s commissioners warning must be a wake up call for
Ministers in London. After twelve years in government it is shameful
that Labour have failed to close the gap between rich and poor created
during the Thatcher years.

"Gordon Brown should hang his head in shame as banking bosses get
multi-million pound rewards while one in five children live below the

"It is clear that there is a particular problem with the tax and
benefits system which must be reformed to ensure that nobody is
overlooked or trapped in a cycle of poverty. Even the Labour weighted
Treasury Select Committee has expressed its dismay that, despite
repeated warnings, the UK Government will fail to meet its poverty
targets by a significant margin and the Scottish Parliament's Local
Government Committee has called for flexibility in Scotland over the
benefits system so it can work for Scotland.

"No issue underlines more why Scotland must have full responsibility
for all tax, spending and social welfare issues so that we can tackle
the scourge of poverty.

"The Scottish Government is doing everything it can with the powers
that are available to it. Practical steps, like freezing the Council
Tax, progressive abolition of prescription charges and the extension
of free school meals to pupils from hard-pressed families, are
delivering and we will do more.

"There is enormous political goodwill towards fighting poverty, and
yet the UK government has failed to match its talk with action.
Scotland has the will to eradicate poverty but we are being held back
by a tax and benefits system that is failing thousands of people.”

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