Nicola Sturgeon has pledged that a re-elected SNP Government will “use every power” to tackle poverty and inequality.
Addressing delegates at the STUC Annual Congress in Dundee, the SNP leader said her government would lead the way in tackling poverty and inequality as she stressed her desire to harness the efforts of all of society to deliver a fairer Scotland.
The First Minister confirmed that a re-elected SNP government would require every public body to evaluate their policies against the duty to reduce inequalities.
Ms Sturgeon also confirmed that the SNP will reappoint an Independent Adviser on Poverty and Inequality, and establish a Poverty and Inequality Commission, to provide advice across all portfolios.
Setting out a series of policies to tackle poverty and to use the Parliament’s new powers over social security, Ms Sturgeon said:
“We argued for new powers so we could address the poverty and worklessness that has lingered in some of our communities for far too long.
“We will publish a Fairer Scotland Action Plan, bringing together all of our actions to tackle poverty and inequalities. This will be informed by the recommendations of the Poverty Adviser - which we will implement in full - and the Fair Work Convention, where Trade Unions have played such an important part.
“Our focus will be on tackling the root causes of poverty and deprivation, not just on mitigating the cuts imposed by Westminster.
“It will mean transformational childcare, reforming our NHS and investing in housing and communities.
“We also recognise that while government has the responsibility to lead and drive change, eradicating poverty cannot be done by government alone. We need to harness the efforts of all of society - including the public, private and third sectors - to work towards the common goal of an equal and prosperous country.
“That is why, as soon as we have the powers to do so, we will commence the socio-economic duty contained in the Equalities Act 2010 that requires all public bodies to evaluate their policies against the duty to reduce inequalities.
“We will also re-appoint an Independent Adviser on Poverty and Inequality and establish a Poverty and Inequality Commission to provide expert advice to ministers on how to tackle poverty and measure and monitor the progress made across all portfolios and all parts of Scotland.”