NICOLA Sturgeon has unveiled plans to tackle child poverty with a warning that 100,000 Scottish youngsters could be plunged into hardship in the coming years.
The SNP is to target more tax breaks and benefits for families and push for a rise in the minimum wage to address the issue.
“The absolute last people who should be paying the price of austerity cuts are children, yet that is precisely what is happening under the plans of all of the Westminster establishment parties,” the First Minister said in a keynote speech in Livingston.
“The UK government’s current plans will see one million additional children across the UK grow up in poverty, 100,000 of whom will be in Scotland. That is a damning statistic and one that must be addressed.”
Nationalists say that under current Coalition plans, one million additional children are expected to grow up in poverty by 2020 across the UK, taking the level of child poverty to 5 million. In Scotland, this would mean an additional 100,000 children growing up in poverty.
Ms Sturgeon said her MPs will push for child tax credits and child benefit to be uprated instead of frozen, as the Conservatives plan. They also want an increase in the work allowance – helping those in work benefit from their earnings.
At Holyrood, the SNP administration has already extended free childcare provision to 600 hours and has pledged that if it is re-elected at the next Holyrood election, childcare provision will be extended further still to 1,140 hours per year.
Polls say the SNP could hold the balance of power at Westminster.
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