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Push ahead with Universal Basic Income pilot to lift Fife children out of poverty

The only way to eradicate the “scourge of child poverty in Fife” is to introduce a Universal Basic Income.

That is the message of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP, Neale Hanvey, who has called on the Scottish Government to push ahead with a proposed trial in Fife irrespective of the UK government’s refusal to support such a pilot.

It is imperative that we try everything possible to solve the terrible scourge of child poverty in Fife and across Scotland.

Speaking following a visit to The Cottage Family Centre, the local MP praised the efforts of Pauline Buchanan and her team who have teamed up with Café Inc to help with lunches during the summer holidays. Mr Hanvey described the local efforts as the “true spirit of our community”, but he added that “something is going seriously wrong when there are kids at risk of going hungry during the school holidays, particularly when you think of the wealth in our country.”

Mr Hanvey’s renewed calls for a Universal Basic Income come as a report from the TUC released today found that one in five children in the UK whose parents are key workers are currently living below the official breadline.

The Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP has been a vocal proponent of a Universal Basic Income since his election in 2019. In May last year, he joined a campaign of 110 parliamentarians pushing for its introduction.

Under a Universal Basic Income pilot, everyone in Fife would receive a monthly payment from the Scottish Government, and this would replace several existing benefits. To date, the Scottish Government has maintained that it would not be possible to run such a pilot without the support of the UK government since social security remains largely reserved to Westminster.

Commenting, Neale Hanvey MP said:

“Today’s report from the TUC shows yet again how children across these islands are facing horrific hardship. We’re talking about kids whose parents are in work, doing crucial frontline jobs, in a group of nations with vast natural and human resources.

“I hear the same stories every week from organisations across the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Constituency.

“Well, we can complain about the impact of austerity from Westminster, the fact the UK government has removed the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift, and the lack of support for folk throughout the pandemic – or we can do something about it.

“That’s why I’m calling on the Scottish Government to push ahead with an adapted version of the proposed Universal Basic Income pilot in Fife. It won’t be exactly as planned given the limited powers we have over social security, but we must be bold. It is imperative that we try everything possible to solve the terrible scourge of child poverty in Fife and across Scotland.”

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