PROGRESS on tackling poverty has stalled because politics is stuck between the “extremes” of Scottish and Brexit nationalism, Gordon Brown will say.
The former prime minister will use a campaign speech in Kirkcaldy, Fife, to highlight the “horrendous” scale of child poverty in Scotland.
Forecasts from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) suggest a record 320,000 children living in Scotland will be in poverty by 2022, he will say.
Mr Brown will argue that nationalism offers “no answers” to tackling the problem and social justice should instead be the “defining issue” of the General Election on June 8.
He is expected to say: “There were 220,000 children in poverty in 2014-15, then 260,000 in 2015-16 – the biggest single rise in one year for an entire generation.
“Do not forget this figure – 40,000 more children in poverty in just 12 months.
“Then look at what is being reliably forecast by the IFS and Rowntree Trust for the year 2022.
“In less than five years’ time, 320,000 children living in Scotland – that is one in every three – will officially be in poverty.”
The same projections suggest the total number of Scots in poverty will reach 1,200,000 in the next five years, he will say.
“Let’s be honest, seven years of UK Conservative Government and now 10 years of the Scottish Government have not made poverty less widespread but made it more widespread.
“At the moment, Scotland is seeing no progress on what matters most – social justice – because politics is frozen between two extremes of Scottish nationalism and Brexit nationalism.
“It is a horrendous projection – the biggest rise in poverty and child poverty since the bleak Thatcher/Major years, and it begs two questions: Exactly what kind of country are Theresa May’s Tories attempting to create? And why are the SNP doing nothing about it if child poverty is on course to reach such shameful record levels?
“This election on June 8 must not just be about Conservatives standing up to Europe or nationalists standing up to Britain, but it should be about all of us standing up to injustice, standing up to poverty, standing up to deprivation and standing up to inequality.
“With the Tories’ Brexit nationalism and the SNP’s Scottish nationalism offering no answers to the real hardships poverty poses, the only party that can really build and deliver social justice in Scotland is Labour.”