Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat, Beatrice Wishart, presented the Cross Party Group on Poverty to the Standards Committee this morning which was subsequently approved. The new group aims to act as a forum for exploring the drivers of and solutions to poverty in Scotland.
Over 1 million people in Scotland live in the grip of poverty. 16 per cent of children in Shetland are thought to live in poverty and 1 in 4 Shetland households live in fuel poverty. With rising fuel costs and growing inflation these numbers are likely to rise.
Ms Wishart has long campaigned to reduce child poverty and fuel poverty, previously calling on the Scottish Government numerous times to present its delayed fuel poverty strategy. Ms Wishart is also a member of the CPG for WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality) which seeks to tackle the UK Government’s pension policy that has led to many women on or facing reduced incomes in retirement.
After the Standards Committee presentation Ms Wishart said:
“Poverty in Scotland is not new but the pandemic has highlighted it and its impact. There’s cross-party consensus to do something about it which is why this new group has been formed.
“No one should face a situation where they are worried that they do not have the means to live, but over a million people are in that situation and it invades every part of life for all members of the affected households.
“There are many small groups working in communities up and down the country trying to help. Building a platform for them to share experiences and exchange ideas will be of great benefit.
“It will allow many voices across Scotland to put their concerns directly to decision makers. Together we can make a difference.”
Director of the Poverty Alliance which will support the group said:
“We are delighted to be supporting the Cross Party Group on Poverty which was approved by the Standards Committee this morning.
“The support for the creation of this group from all of Scotland's political parties has been greatly encouraging to see.
“The number of people in poverty in Scotland is entirely unacceptable and we hope that the formation of the CPG will make way for the bold and radical action we need if we are to truly tackle poverty.
“We look forward to working with MSPs and organisations from across the country and are excited to see what outcomes this group will bring.”