Corbyn In Edinburgh To Condemn Poverty

16 December 2018, 07:30 | Updated: 16 December 2018, 07:33

Jeremy Corbyn

Jeremy Corbyn said there is something "seriously wrong in our political and economic system" as he condemned rising poverty levels in the UK.

A report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation earlier this month suggested a fifth of the population - more than 14 million people - are in poverty.

The foundation also indicated in its "state of the nation" document that one in four (230,000) children in Scotland are living in poverty.

The Labour leader will attend a Christmas lunch in Edinburgh on Sunday with families reliant on food banks, hosted by the party's community organising unit.

"No-one should be homeless, cold and hungry at any time of the year, and especially at Christmas," he said.

"The sad reality is that one in four children in Scotland are living in poverty and thousands of young people face Christmas without a home to call their own.

"Too many Scottish households don't have enough to get by and food bank use is on the increase.

"This shows that something is very seriously wrong in our political and economic system, and needs to change.

"We need Labour governments north and south of the border to end poverty, homelessness and inequality, and to transform our society so it works for the many, not the few."

Scotland is the only part of the UK with targets for reducing poverty after the Child Poverty Act was passed in 2017.

It requires the Scottish Government to reduce the number of children who live in poverty by 2030.

A delivery plan was published in March 2018 which focuses on three key areas believed to have the biggest impact - work and earnings, cost of living, and social security.

SNP MSP Tom Arthur said his party has "one hand tied" behind its back by the UK Government when tackling the issue.

"Jeremy Corbyn leads a party that is opposed to giving Scotland full control over the welfare powers we need to fully address the issues of poverty he highlights," said Mr Arthur.

"The SNP Government is committed to eradicating child poverty - we are investing over £125 million this year alone to mitigate the worst effects of UK Tory welfare cuts and we are supporting efforts to increase the number of people receiving the Living Wage.

"But we are doing all this with one hand tied behind our back for as long as Westminster retains most welfare powers.

"So instead of coming to Scotland to lecture about poverty, Jeremy Corbyn should explain why he opposes Holyrood having the full powers needed to tackle it.

"He should also get off the fence and show some leadership in opposing the Tory Brexit plans which threaten to do huge damage to Scotland's economy, costing jobs and making life even harder for those already struggling on low incomes."