It is a national disgrace that one in four children in Scotland lives in poverty.
The link between deprivation, ill health and poor educational outcomes is undeniable, and so much potential is at risk of being wasted.
Holyrood ’s primary lever for tackling this scourge is the Scottish Child Payment (SCP), a £10-a-week lifeline for low income families payable for every eligible child.
During the election it was noticeable that a consensus emerged for the doubling of the SCP during the course of this Parliament.
But poverty is a fact now and it should not take a five-year term to increase the SCP to £20 a week.
The Daily Record and dozens of campaign groups were united in their call for the payment to be doubled immediately.
So Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement that her government’s Budget will fund this policy should be warmly welcomed.
Kids under six will benefit from the beefed-up SCP from April, while families with under-16s will receive the income boost by the end of 2022.
Much has been written about the causes of poverty but it is undeniable that giving hard-pressed families more money is the main solution.
Child poverty levels will be cut and hopefully year-on-year increases to the SCP will follow.
It also stands in contrast to the heartless Tory government’s decision to cut Universal Credit by £20 a week.
Holyrood was supposed to make people’s lives better and this is devolution at its best.
PM dithers again
A plea by both Scottish and Welsh first ministers for an emergency Cobra meeting to discuss the new Covid variant seems a reasonable request – but it was dismissed out of hand by Boris Johnson yesterday.
The devolved administrations want to extend self-isolation for international arrivals to the UK, given concerns over the potential of Omicron to wreak havoc.
Who knows whether the proposals by Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford are the right course of action but they should have been considered carefully by the PM. Johnson instead decided to shut down the debate before it started.
It’s not the first time he has delayed, deferred or dithered since the start of the pandemic, when the country was slow to go into lockdown.
Last week, the Record praised the UK Government for acting promptly to try to arrest the spread of the new variant.
But the Prime Minister – resorting to type – could once again be squandering the advantage.
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