UN World Day of Social Justice
Recently at an event to mark the publication of our ambitious Child Poverty Bill, I was asked if I thought our aim to end child poverty in Scotland is possible:
“I do. What is the purpose of being in politics if it’s not to give our children the best start in life?”
And it’s true – I want to give people the opportunities to make their lives better.
One part of that is ending child poverty in Scotland. It’s utterly unacceptable that children are growing up in poverty in a modern country like ours and we want to help them and prevent future generations from the same fate.
But social justice is much wider than that – it’s about creating a Scotland that is fairer for everyone, which is fitting on UN World Day of Social Justice.
We see social justice as an everyday issue and have embedded it into our policies, from inclusive economic growth and providing people with access to affordable and healthy food, to expanding funding of early learning and childcare and reducing the attainment gap in schools.
Combatting the deep-rooted causes of poverty, deprivation and inequalities in Scotland is key to that because the social costs are borne by us all, and it’s all of society that will benefit from reduced inequality and inclusive growth.
And we’ve backed that up ambition with concrete action – our Fairer Scotland Action Plan contains 50 specific steps to create a more equal society as we move towards a fair, smart, inclusive Scotland with genuine equality of opportunity for everyone.
It takes all of us to build a fairer Scotland and we need to form an approach that involves those living in poverty, with communities, with business and industry, and with all public and third sector organisations, to achieve this. It won’t be easy but, if we all pull together and do our utmost, we can and we will succeed in doing so.
The UN uses the slogan “Social Justice and Decent Life for All” – Scotland is supportive of and working towards that.