ALBA Urge Finance Secretary to Fund "Five Point Plan" on Child and Family Poverty in Scottish Budget

ALBA Party’s Westminster Leader, Neale Hanvey MP has urged the Scottish Finance Secretary to fund an immediate "five point plan" to reduce poverty in Scotland as part of the Scottish Government’s budget.

Alba say funding their “radical and ambitious” five-point plan is an absolute necessity ahead of John Swinney’s budget announcement on Thursday.

Mr Hanvey says that levels of deprivation and poverty across the country are a “political scandal and that bold and radical action must now be taken to ensure that such Tory driven inequality will no longer be accepted by politicians in the Scottish Parliament”.

Alba Party want £500 to be paid to half a million households in receipt of a Council Tax Reduction and are calling for the Scottish Child Payment to be increased to £40 per week "putting more money into the pockets of hard-pressed families who need it most”.

Alba are also calling for a doubling of the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) for 16-19-year-olds in school or at college to prevent the poverty related educational attainment gap from growing further. Additionally, the party say that free breakfasts and school meals should be extended, as a matter of urgency to all primary and secondary school pupils to “ease the pressure on family budgets and ensure children and young people get a healthy nutritious meal every day".

Alex Salmond’s party also want to see youngsters given free access to sports facilities, something they say will fund itself, citing the huge impact obesity has on the NHS and productivity each year. Free sports access would also take young people off the streets, reducing pressure on policing and help keep hundreds of pounds in a families pocket each year.

Commenting on ALBA’s five-point plan to reduce poverty, Neale Hanvey MP said:

“Scotland needs to think big about the kind of country we can be. It is time to put our nation's people first and provide real support to those in greatest need, and to communities who have been neglected for far too long.

“The levels of poverty in energy-rich Scotland are a political scandal and our parliament must take the bold and radical action necessary to tackle inequality head-on through such progressive policy initiatives.

“I would urge the Scottish Government to implement Alba's five-point plan on poverty immediately, and call for a national cross-party effort to genuinely lift the Scottish people out of the poverty trap.

“Our five specific targeted measures represent a step change and clear focus on poverty and the disadvantage it drives. Each measure would deliver real and meaningful improvements to the lives and aspirations of children and families across Scotland."

The Scottish Budget 2023-24 will be presented to the Scottish Parliament on Thursday, 15 December.

Last week Alba Party set out their new tax proposals which could be used by the Scottish Government to support the vital public service sector by increasing income tax rates for high earners.

ALBA's 5 Point Plan

1. Introduce an Annual £500 payment to assist half a million low earnings households in Scotland 🏠

2. Increase the Scottish Child Payment to £40 per week for 400,000 children in quarter of a million households 🧒

3. Extend free school meals to all primary and secondary pupils in Scotland 🍎

4. Double the Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA) from £30 to £60 for 16-19 year olds in school and college 📚

5. Introduce universal access to sports facilities for all children and young people under 18 ⚽️

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