I am a single parent. I work full-time. Why am I worse off?

I live in Scotland. I am Scottish. I am a single parent. I work full-time. And increasingly I am seeing more and more working people and families like me slip into poverty. Day in, day out the media are telling us that hard working families are struggling to make ends meet because they fall just above the threshold to receive tax credits and finding themselves worse off.

According to a recent report from theBBC there are currently around 820,000 Scots living in poverty– 110,000 up on last year. Those affected the most appear to be families with children which has gone from 30,000 to 180,000 children now living in poverty in Scotland in the last year alone. This is incredible and totally unacceptable. How can government justify this and justify the austerity measures that are creating this travesty.

At the same time we are being told that MPs are shamefully racking up extortionate drinks bill in the House of Commons – we are being informed that they are thinking nothing of spending£275,221 on 25,000 bottles of champagne since 2010(subsided I might add).

When we look at the facts more closely we are being told that 6 in 10 children are from households where at least one adult is in employment. The Scottish government say increases in child poverty are because of reduced entitlement to tax credits. Basically this is telling us we are better on benefits – isn’t it?

Surely in today’s world we are meant to provide for our family with dignity and for a good living wage – making people choose between working and not working in order to provide for their family shouldn’t be an option. Everyone should be better off working.

Nicola Sturgeon has said the increase was down to Westminster cuts. The fact is that the reduction in poverty in recent years is now being reversed. Westminster welfare reforms are reducing incomes for some of the poorest households.

Due to these reforms we have seen people having to use food banks for the first time in their lives. This is totally unacceptable and degrading for families to do.

According to the study, in the last year 28% of teachers have reported more children turning up for lessons without eating since the night before.

Research by cereal maker Kellogg’s found one child is going to school hungry once a week for the duration of their primary school life, loses 8.4 weeks of learning time.

Scotland is one of the richest countries in the world and families should never be living in poverty. We as a country owe it to the people to stamp out poverty once and for all and the place to start would be with benefit reforms.

Chantelle McNally
Youth Committee Vice Chair
Scotland No 1 Branch

Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do notreflect the policies and views of the CWU Youth and the CWU.

CWU Annual Conference voted to support the following motion:

“The potential ramifications of Scotland separating from the rest of the uk are extremely far-reaching.

This conference therefore fully respects the enormity of the decision to be taken by the people of Scotland in the Independence Referendum on 18th September 2014.

The CWU has held membership meetings throughout Scotland, met with Branch representatives, produced regular research material to inform the debate, and has conducted independent polling of CWU members in Scotland.

Conference accepts that branches in Scotland are entitled to make local recommendations to their branch members on this question. Conference also accepts that it is equally incumbent on the union nationally to make a recommendation to members in Scotland on this important constitutional decision that will undoubtedly affect all members of the CWU.

Conference therefore endorses the NEC decision to recommend to all members in Scotland that they vote “no” in the forthcoming Scottish Independence Referendum and appropriate communications are circulated to our Scottish membership this effect.”