Recently elected MSP Natalie Don highlighted that Renfrewshire North and West residents make the constituency such a wonderful place to live during her first speech in the Scottish Parliament and pledged to fight to improve life and opportunities for everyone experiencing poverty.

Speaking in the chamber yesterday, the SNP member started her speech by thanking her family, campaign team and voters who enabled her to have the honour of representing constituents in the Scottish Parliament.

Natalie Don MSP said: “I’m proud of the huge steps the Scottish Government is taking to eradicate poverty with actual goals, targets and policies that benefit people’s lives. There is certainly more to do but we are raising the bar through the Scottish Child Payment, free school meals, Best Start Payments, widening access to childcare, removing financial barriers to education, empowering and enabling women to take up employment.

“I am thrilled that the SNP won an election standing on bold policies such as a Citizens Basic Income and a Minimum Citizens Wage Guarantee – policies that will genuinely make our country fairer and make a difference to people’s lives.”

She added: “While we give to families with the Scottish Child Payment, Westminster then takes this away from the same families, with the £20 uplift to Universal Credit being removed, a move set to plunge even more children in this country into poverty.

“Poverty is not a choice and it is certainly not inevitable either. It is a lifestyle inflicted on people. No child should grow up hungry in Scotland.

“We have food banks and homeless people while billions are spent on palaces, boats and nuclear missiles. That’s 21st century Great Britain for you. We will never see an end to child poverty while tied to the UK government.

“The Scottish Government can make bold move after bold move, but we cannot mitigate everything. That is why it must be our mission in our Scottish Parliament to give the people what they voted for in an independence referendum, so we can get these vital powers away from the out of touch politicians in London and into the hands of the people of Scotland.

“I want to say to anyone who has or is experiencing poverty or going to the food banks right now, any child that doesn’t understand why it’s happening to them, to anyone that thinks the
system is against them, please don’t give up.

“Until we see an end to child poverty in an independent Scotland, I can promise you that I’ve got your back in here, I am fighting for you.”