by Councillor John Mooney

I WAS really concerned and saddened by the recent article on child poverty in the Post reporting that 30 per cent of children in Clydebank Central are living in poverty.

This is a scandal. I would like to discuss three issues which impact on child poverty and how it can be effectively addressed: taxation and benefits, housing, and health and social care.

We need a more progressive tax system in which the rich pay their way and the low-paid are protected. A Labour government would significantly increase income tax on the rich and introduce new taxes on wealth and unused assets.

The Tories are rewarding the rich. The timid SNP government balks at taxing the rich, and hides behind the myth of tax flight.

Labour would increase child benefit by £5 per week for every child. The previous Labour administration was very successful in getting money for social housing and regeneration. I hope the SNP council can hold the SNP government to account, but I have my doubts based on their record of cuts to the Care of Garden scheme and library hours.

The Labour council took the bold step of funding the mitigation of the Tory bedroom tax while the SNP government dithered.

We need to put significantly more into the NHS and social care and create an integrated National Health and Social Care Service to help those in the most deprived areas realise their true potential.

Labour will not complain, like MPs Martin Docherty-Hughes and Carol Monaghan, that “we need more powers to tackle child poverty”. Labour will get on with the job.

We also need health services delivered locally. The council backed my motion to publicise the services at the Vale of Leven Hospital – the GP out-of-hours service, the minor injuries unit and the midwifery service, which has been praised by the Scottish Government.

It makes no sense that if someone has a heart attack in my ward the ambulance bypasses the Golden Jubilee, the cardiac centre of excellence, to battle through traffic for several more miles to the QEUH. It seems obvious to me that cardiac emergencies here should go straight to our local hospital.

I will be taking this up with the Cabinet Minister for Health.