Too many families struggling with ‘eat or heat’ choices

Research showing that Britain is spending a lower proportion of its wealth on supporting children than at any time since 1977 has been condemned as a “demonstration of Westminster’s failure” to act on child poverty.

Moray’s MP Angus Robertson is highlighting research by the House of Commons Library that reveals the proportion of GDP spent on child benefit has fallen to 0.6 per cent – the lowest level it has reached at any time since 1977.

The local MP has repeatedly expressed concern over the impact of austerity on poorer families with welfare changes having a huge impact on the least well off families, inflation in excess of wage increases and growing reliance on charitable support such as the Moray Food Bank.

The Child Poverty Action Group has previously estimated that up to 100,000 more children in Scotland risk being pushed into poverty by 2020.

Mr Robertson: “Across Moray there are far too many families struggling by day-to-day having to make choices about whether to ‘eat or to heat’, whether to go without to ensure children are fed and clothed and whether to go into debt just to buy the most basic items.

“The fact that the UK is spending less of its wealth on child benefit than at any time since 1977 is an appalling indictment of the lack of importance the Westminster Government attaches to reducing child poverty.

“It shows that there is a complete lack of will amongst the Westminster establishment to tackle the increasing child poverty being driven by their austerity agenda.”

Pointing to a Scottish Government that he says is doing all it can to mitigate against austerity measures through the Scottish Welfare Fund and support for charities, the MP added: “Only a powerful voice for Scotland with a strong team of SNP MPs can achieve change, and help deliver progressive policies across the UK.

“And the Scottish Government must have the powers to do more to help folk. That is why Scotland needs far greater welfare responsibilities than have thus far been proposed – again, something only a vote for the SNP can secure.”

Mr Robertson will defend his Moray seat in May’s UK Election against Scottish Conservative candidate Douglas Ross, Scottish Labour candidate Sean Morton, and Greens candidate James Mackessack-Leitch.

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