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New report shows Westminster can't be trusted to tackle poverty

Westminster can't be trusted to tackle poverty, the SNP has said after new research revealed those on the lowest incomes would need to double their incomes to escape poverty.

A report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found the poverty gap, the amount of money needed to bring the incomes of people in poverty to the poverty line, has nearly doubled since the mid-90s, with a couple with two children under-14 in poverty now needing an additional £6,200 per year to reach the poverty line, with families in very deep poverty needing £12,800 to reach the poverty line.

The report also highlights Scotland's "much lower" child poverty rate of 24% - compared to 31% in England and 28% in Wales - attributing this to "at least in part" the Scottish Child Payment, which provides low-income families with £25 a week for each child.

The SNP's Social Justice spokesperson, David Linden MP, slammed Westminster for refusing to follow in the footsteps of the SNP Scottish Government in implementing policies like the Scottish Child Payment, and attacked the Tories for driving poverty rates to massive levels through their over decade-long austerity regime and damaging Brexit.

Commenting, David Linden MP said:

"Fourteen years of Tory austerity have led to almost dickensian levels of extreme poverty in the UK, making clear that Westminster can't be trusted to take steps to tackle the growing issue.

"At every opportunity the UK Tory government has doubled down on their punitive policies and ignored every suggestion that could lift households out of poverty, including SNP calls to replicate the Scottish Child Payment across the UK, introduce an energy social tariff for vulnerable households and bring back the £400 energy rebate and implement a Real Living Wage.

"The game-changing £25 a week Scottish Child Payment has been instrumental in lowering rates of child poverty and would make a huge difference to poverty levels in the UK if the Westminster government matched this policy. The £83.7 million the Scottish Government is spending on protecting households from the Tories' bedroom tax and housing benefit cap could be better spent to tackle poverty in Scotland - Westminster needs to scrap these cruel policies now.

"For years we have seen that with every step forward we take in Scotland, the Tory government drags us back two. It's impossible for the Scottish Government to fully eradicate poverty in Scotland when it has one hand tied behind its back, with a cloud of Tory austerity and Brexit lingering over us.

"Only by voting SNP in this year's general election can we make Scotland Tory-free, and ensure a strong team of SNP MPs are standing up for Scottish households and their budgets at Westminster."

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