Poverty must be the key issue of the general election

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Parties should put poverty and how to end it at the heart of their policy pledges

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19th November 2019 by Graham Martin 1 Comment

Poverty must be put at the heart of the UK general election battle, charity campaigners have said.

They say that the country’s huge wealth disparities and levels of deprivation are the key issues of the day – not Brexit and not independence.

They say that parties should put poverty and how to end it at the heart of their policy pledges.

The Poverty Alliance has published its election manifesto, demanding the creation of a more compassionate social security system, building a labour market that works for everyone, and protecting people on low incomes from the effects of Brexit.

It wants to see the introduction of UK-wide poverty reduction targets and a UK anti-poverty strategy, a legally-binding commitment to maintaining and strengthening workers’ rights post-Brexit, the ending the five-week wait for Universal Credit, removing the two-child limit, raising benefit levels, including increasing child benefit by at least £5 per child per week, and tackling in-work poverty, by boosting workers’ wages and taking action on insecure work.

With over one million people – including almost one in four children – living in the grip of poverty in Scotland, the manifesto seeks to not only influence the actions of the next UK government but also ensure that poverty is one of the key election issues in the lead-up to the 12 December poll.

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said: “It is outrageous that so many people have been swept into poverty in recent years, and figures released last week show that record numbers of people are now using foodbanks.

“This simply cannot go on. The election gives us the opportunity to look at what we can do to address this national scandal, and to place solving poverty firmly at the heart of the next government’s agenda. Communities across Scotland need our political parties to listen to our calls, and to commit themselves to loosening the grip of poverty on people’s lives.”

Jamie Clark, a community activist from Glasgow, knows all too well the struggle of raising a family on a low income.

He said: “Living in poverty is like being stuck in the middle of a spider’s web with no escape route. You can climb further up the web to try and get out but something keeps dragging you back. Low pay, insecure work, zero hours contracts and a punitive social security system make it very difficult to escape. That’s the trap of poverty. Political parties need to wake up to this and take the action we need.”

19th November 2019 by Tiiu Miller

Of course we must tackle poverty as a priority, but the very top priority should be climate change. If we wreck the climate poverty will increase many fold no matter how hard we try to reduce it. . Fighting climate change is even more vital than fighting Hitler was, but harder in a way because the foe is invisible and intangible and has not hit most of us here - yet. But the effects will last thousands of years longer than any dictator, however nasty.