Published date : 24 Mar 2017

Jenny Gilruth MSP, MSP for Mid Fife & Glenrothes is very much looking forward to voting in Parliament on Tuesday 28th March.  MSPs will vote to make a choice between accepting a hard Tory Brexit from the EU, or allowing the people of Scotland a final say.

Commenting in parliament during her speech, Ms Gilruth reminded the Chamber: “in 2013 statistics showed that 27% of children in the Glenrothes and Central Fife constituency were living in poverty.  Only parts of Glasgow recorded worse figures. 

Scottish Government figures published last week reported roughly 260,000 children are living in poverty nationally. That’s an increase of 4% from last year.”

John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland described the figures as ‘devastating’. He stated: "These statistics are a stark reminder why the UK Chancellor needs to end the freeze on family benefits and reverse cuts to Universal Credit for working families if the UK Government's rhetoric on supporting ‘ordinary families’ is to mean anything."

Ms. Gilruth then continued: “this debate matters to these children, to their future, to their ambitions and aspirations.  Earlier this month I attended the official opening of the new Levenmouth Academy – a school which would not have existed without £25million of direct Scottish Government investment. The Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP told pupils:

“‘Every young person who comes in to the door of this school has the right to expect the best possible start in life’.”

Ms. Gilruth went on to state that “In recent years my constituency has suffered disproportionately at the hands of Tory austerity.”

Since the Independence Referendum, Ms. Gilruth stated her constituency had job losses in:

  • The HMRC offices in Glenrothes – October 2014
  • Velux windows in the town – also in October 2014
  • Tullis Russell paper mill – June 2015
  • Pro Clad Manufacturing - last March
  • Clydesdale Bank in Leven - this January

Recalling her visit to Glenrothes last week, the MSP couldn’t help but reflect on how the town had changed from when she was growing up.

Walking through the Kingdom Centre, the scene that the MSP remembered so fondly as a child was now starkly different. The once bustling Centre was now scattered with pawn shops, discount bargain stores and empty shop fronts.  

The prospects of a hard-Brexit are likely to bring about even more economic hardship. The Fraser of Allander Institute has estimated that a hard-Brexit could cost 80,000 Scottish jobs within a decade and cost working folk an average of £2,000 in their wages.

Ms Gilruth concluded her speech by stating: “I will not go back up the road to my constituents in Mid Fife and Glenrothes and pretend that the status quo is delivering for them. That patently is not the case.”

Full speech can be heard here.  

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