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Nicola Sturgeon left fumbling over SNP poverty gap failure ‘Missed your own target!’
April 20, 2021
Nicola Sturgeon grilled over SNP’s poverty figures
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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon claimed in the last parliamentary term the SNP have put in place what child poverty campaigners have called a “game-changing” policy to tackle child poverty north of the border. Ms Sturgeon claimed that if the SNP were re-elected at the upcoming elections the £10-a-week Scottish Child Payment “would be doubled in the next term of parliament.” But she was caught off guard by STV presenter Colin MacKay, who highlighted the SNP were missing their target in this area and stated a different target to the one she suggested.
Sturgeon blamed Westminster for the poverty situation in Scotland saying: “We have this situation in Scotland where we are trying to lift children out of poverty with the powers we’ve got but the powers that still lie at Westminster are being used in a way that plunges more children into poverty.”
But McKay caught her off guard and said: “You’re going to double it (child payment) by the end of the Parliament? That message that interim targets set out in the Child Poverty Act of cutting it (child poverty) by 18% by 2023/24.
“You’re missing your own target!”
Sturgeon replied quickly: “We said in our manifesto we’d do over the term of the parliament.”
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The interviewer then pulled the First Minister up on a page in the SNP’s manifesto which instead states they will achieve these targets by the end of Parliament.
He asked: “So when are you going to do it? Are you going to do it in time to meet that 18% cut by 23/24?”
Sturgeon replied: “These are statutory targets… we are bound by law and do what it takes to meet those (targets).”
She explained the SNP would “set out the phasing of that policy” if re-elected but did not answer whether targets would be met on child poverty in the time stated within the manifesto.
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The heated debate comes the SNP have launched a group aimed at paving the way for an independent Scotland to return to the European Union.
‘Project No Surprises’ is aimed at making it easier for Scotland to return to the European Union if First Minister Sturgeon is successful in her bid to force a second Scottish independence referendum and take Scotland out of the United Kingdom.
Alyn Smith, the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesman and Stirling MP told Politico: “Given that the international aspects of independence are so important to the case for independence — and we want to be independent in order to apply for EU membership, in order to apply for NATO membership — we are firmly of the view that we need to do ‘Project No Surprises.'”
Project No Surprises has been launched at the same time as another campaign, spearheaded by the Scottish Government, officially intended to reassure Brussels that Scotland wants to maintain close ties to the bloc.
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Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “We are still waiting on the SNP delivering promises they made in 2007.
“They have a one-track mind for independence that prevents them from getting anything else done.”
He said that on issues such as “class sizes, council tax, superfast broadband, delayed discharge” it had been “promise after promise broken” by the SNP, adding: “It will be even worse if the SNP get a majority.”
Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon said she did not accept an SNP government would increase spending by less in an independent Scotland than has been delivered under Conservative UK governments.