Campaigners Say to MSPs ‘Make Poverty Your Priority’

March 16th 2011

In the last week of the Scottish Parliament before the election campaign the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) and the Poverty Alliance are saying to politicians of all parties “make poverty your priority” in the forthcoming campaign and in the next session of the Parliament.

In a lobby of Parliament today campaigners will argue that Increasing living costs, lower wages and punishing welfare reforms will have a significant impact on family budgets in the coming years.

Grahame Smith, General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress says:

“In the current economic crisis, with jobs and services under threat, inflation rising and wage freezes in place for much of the Scottish workforce, many families are under pressure just to keep their heads above water. We are looking to the next Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament to show leadership and prioritise anti-poverty work to help Scottish families survive these tough times. By keeping a focus on jobs, services, fair taxation and a living wage the Scottish Government can continue to tackle poverty and ensure that our communities are not devastated by decisions taken at Westminster, as was the case in previous recessions.”

Campaigners will tell MSP’s that levels of poverty are higher in Scotland than in other European countries and that levels of low pay and low income are locking people and communities into poverty. Low pay affects between nearly one quarter and one fifth of all workers with 370,000 workers were paid less than £7 an hour in 2009. Inequalities in Scottish society persist with Women more likely to be in low-paid jobs than men. 43% of workers earning less than £7 per hour are women in part-time jobs.

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance says:

“We want politicians of all parties to make ending poverty in Scotland their priority in the coming years. It is simply unacceptable that 19 per cent of the Scottish population live in poverty. This is a situation that not only damages individuals and communities but is hugely damaging to the wider Scottish economy. It is vital that in the next few years policy makers and legislators put renewed efforts into dealing with poverty.”

At the lobby MSP’s will be asked to support policies designed to eradicate poverty such as a living wage, fair taxation, a focus on jobs and the implementation of a socio economic duty.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Representatives of the STUC and Poverty Alliance will be meeting MSPs from 1pm today (16/3/11)

Poverty Alliance Contacts: Peter Kelly on 07766606454 or Maggie Kelly on 07910341186

Or

STUC contact: Helen Martin on 0141 337 8100

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