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Combatting poverty in Scotland

This opinion piece is over 10 years old

John Dickie, director of Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, sets out the principles that will enable Scotland to combat the scourge of poverty.

John Dickie
John Dickie

With awareness of the scale of poverty rising in recent weeks, not least as a result of the Scotland’s Outlook campaign, the need to put poverty at the heart of the constitutional debate could not be clearer.

That’s why we at Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland have published a new book Poverty in Scotland 2014; the independence referendum and beyond.

In the book a clear set of principles emerge that will enable Scotland to combat the scourge of poverty.

First, it is clear that we need a fairer labour market that ensures work is accessible and pays a decent wage. Parents shouldn’t be in a position where employment doesn’t provide them with enough to support their children.

The book also articulates arguments for a more progressive approach to taxation at every level of government as well as the need to preserve and enhance a universal approach to public services and benefits.

We at CPAG would also like to see tackling poverty become core business for every level of government and its partners. We also need to address the gender inequality that puts women and children at particular risk of poverty and it is vital that anti-poverty action reaches all Scotland’s people, including asylum seekers and refugees.

Only when communities and individuals affected by poverty are able to participate in decision making that affects them, can we really expect to come up with solutions that really work.

As child poverty campaigners we believe the big prize come September will be a Scotland where the public support and political will exists to take the decisions needed to turn these principles into real change on the ground.