Emma Roddick MSP says austerity-led UK Government continues to hinder progress on closing Scotland’s attainment gap

Highlands & Islands MSP Emma Roddick has said that Scotland’s poverty-related attainment gap cannot be tackled by schools alone, claiming that UK Government welfare policy is hindering Scotland’s progress.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Ms Roddick pressed the Scottish Government on the measures being implemented to tackle the drivers of poverty.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Shirley-Anne Somerville, said that the Scottish Government was continuing to support children through the Scottish Child Payment and the Scottish Welfare fund, but noted that it was becoming increasingly difficult to protect Scotland’s children and young people against the UK Government’s damaging welfare policies.

Ms Roddick said:

“There is always work to be done in improving our schools here in Scotland, and it is vital that we take steps to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap at its root cause: poverty.

“The Scottish Government is doing all it can to mitigate the damage being done by the UK Government through its progressive and compassionate range of benefits, including the Scottish Child Payment which has already had a great impact in tackling child poverty – but it does so with one hand tied behind its back.

“Time and time again, this UK Government has displayed its negligence of the most vulnerable in our society. Scotland’s children and young people are being failed by a system that does not protect them.

“Scotland can do better than this with the full powers of independence. We cannot let our children continue to pay the price for remaining in this union.”