Moray politicians go head to head over poverty figures

A Moray politician is attacking the Scottish Government after highlighting a National Statistics publication this week that indicates one in every five Scottish children are living in poverty.

Labour councillor Sean Morton, who has already announced that he will stand for the Scottish Labour Party in the Moray seat at the UK General Election next year, says that new figures should leave little doubt that people in Moray are “stuck between two governments”.

Meanwhile Moray’s SNP MP, Angus Robertson, has insisted that the blame for the poverty increase was entirely down to the policies of the UK Government – and demonstrated why a Yes vote in September was essential.

Following the publication of the figures Labour’s social justice spokeswoman at the Scottish Parliament, Jackie Baillie, said: “It is completely unacceptable that one million Scots are now living in poverty.

“This substantial increase should shame the SNP into using the powers they already have to tackle an issue which blights Scotland.

“With almost one in five children now living in poverty and 10,000 more pensioners struggling to make ends meet it is disgraceful that the Deputy First Minister’s response was essentially that all will be better under independence. They can and should act now.”

Councillor Morton added: “People struggling in Moray find themselves stuck between two governments, the Tories at Westminster and the SNP at Holyrood, with the wrong priorities.

“The SNP failed to act quickly enough to mitigate the impact of the Tories bedroom tax in Scotland and did so only after vigorous campaigns and intervention from Labour.

“In addition the Scottish Welfare fund had a massive underspend and the fuel poverty budget was not spent at a time when 900,000 households were in fuel poverty.

“This is all happening because the SNP put independence before everything else. Labour has a proud record of tackling poverty, with dramatic and consistent improvements under Labour governments in both Holyrood and Westminster.

“Sadly, with a Tory government intent on penalising the poor and an SNP government more concerned about independence than improving the lives of ordinary Scots, all Labour’s hard-work is in danger of being undone.”

However, Angus Robertson MP said the figures underlined that the independence referendum is a choice between taking action to reduce poverty in Scotland – or sticking with a Westminster government that is happy to waste billions on replacing Trident.

The Moray MP said: “On the day we learn that another 30,000 children in Scotland have been pushed into poverty as a result of Westminster’s welfare cuts, we find that Westminster also plans to spend £4billion a year on weapons of mass destruction within a few years.

“The report from Westminster party grandees is absolutely right to say that they need to be transparent about the costs to the public purse.

“This study crystallizes the choice we face in the referendum in September. With a Yes vote we can rid ourselves of the moral and economic obscenity of Trident and invest the vast sums of money saved in building a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.

“With one million people in Scotland now living in relative poverty, there can no longer be any doubt that the need to make our own decisions on tax and welfare is real and urgent.

“Westminster has shown that it simply cannot be trusted to stand up for the poorest people in society.”

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