OPFS response to First Minister’s anti-poverty summit
Speaking after todays anti-poverty summit Marion Davis, Director of Policy & Strategy at One Parent Families Scotland said:
“OPFS was really pleased to be represented at the First Ministers anti- poverty summit . Almost half of children in poverty live with a single mother. We know, therefore, that the focus on action to reduce and eventually eradicate poverty, particularly women’s poverty, must be laser focused. The First Minister recognised this today. We understand public finances are under pressure and that difficult choices must be made. However, we strongly believe that the Scottish Government must build on existing commitments to tackle child poverty: rolling out universal free school meals to all primary school children; increasing the Scottish child payment; extending funded high quality, affordable, flexible childcare; supporting single parents to increase their skills and access further education and creating an economy that provides secure, family-friendly jobs paid at the real living wage.
“In that context, we at OPFS would be extremely shocked and dismayed if the universal free school meals roll out in Scotland was halted to free up monies to pay for other initiatives. Certain policies do need to be targeted for those families most in need but this most definitely does not include universal free school meals. OPFS has campaigned for over 20 years for free healthy school meals for school-age children, which is to the benefit of all of Scotland’s children. We see this as non-negotiable. A child’s right to a healthy free school meal should be a universal right – no matter your background .
“To increase available resources, the Scottish Government should use its income tax powers to ensure the highest earners make a fairer contribution in the next Scottish budget and pursue more radical tax reform, including overhauling Council Tax and exploring new ways to tax wealth. This could raise substantial additional money, ensuring those with the highest incomes pay more while protecting those on the lowest.”