Kezia Dugdale: Scottish Labour would implement Naomi Eisenstadt’s recommendations in full
Scottish Labour would implement all 15 of Nicola Sturgeon’s poverty tsar Naomi Eisenstadt’s recommendations, according to party leader Kezia Dugdale.
The recommendations were made in a report by Eisenstadt in January and include measures on tackling in-work poverty, housing and education.
Sturgeon said the Scottish Government would formally respond by the end of March, but this week Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil confirmed it had been postponed until after the election.
SNP response to poverty report delayed until after election
Naomi Eisenstadt, Scotland's independent adviser on poverty and inequality, reveals her 15 recommendations to the Scottish Government
Welfare and social justice: No poverty of ambition
Speaking to journalists yesterday, Dugdale said she had written to Eisenstadt to confirm a Scottish Labour Government would enact all 15 recommendations.
“An anti-poverty bill will be included in the first Labour plan for government to deliver on these recommendations. We will be bold on local taxation by scrapping the unfair council tax and asking the wealthiest to pay a bit more.”
Other aspects of the Labour plan featured in her letter to Eisenstadt include establishing a Living Wage Commission which would encourage pay ratio disclosure, make flexible working explicit in the business pledge, build 45,000 new homes on social rents, and introduce a Warm Homes Act to tackle fuel poverty.
A new agency would combine Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Enterprise to tackle paths into work, and plans on childcare would be unveiled in the Labour manifesto, she added.
Dugdale called the SNP’s tax proposals to freeze income tax at all levels “a contradiction”.
“Their tax plan is Conservative, its contradictory, it’s a con. You can’t claim to want to change Scotland if you aren’t willing to do things differently,” she said.
Eisenstadt’s last recommendation is to enforce a socio-economic duty on public bodies, a measure first introduced in the UK Equality Act 2010. Dugdale said Labour would apply the same section of the new Scotland Act which will allow Nicola Sturgeon to enforce gender quotas on public boards.
“I think if the First Minister accepts you can use it for that end you should be able to accept you can use it for this purpose on the socio-economic duty,” she said.
Alex Neil told Holyrood’s welfare and social justice hustings this week Eisenstadt’s report had come too close to the end of parliament.
“The detailed response will be made if we’re re-elected after we come back, but I think it’s very clear from all the other statements we’ve made as a government before the parliament rose, and in the campaign, that the recommendations made in this report we are obviously treating very seriously,” he said.
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