Poverty: Kirkcaldy has witnessed a distressing rise in demand at foodbanks, and community groups such as the Cottage Centre are now shouldering a huge amount of the work once done by the welfare state. What practical steps will you take in your first six months as MP to tackle poverty in the town?
Kathleen Leslie (Tory): It is not within the power of an individual MP to do this, it would be my role, as part of a majority Conservative Government, to take practical steps to address poverty by backing policy to grow the economy.
Neale Hanvey (Independent): Poverty is no accident, it is a predictable symptom of austerity and the Tories are directly responsible. The SNP is using its limited powers to tackle poverty, by fully mitigating the ‘Bedroom Tax’, ending period poverty and using new social security powers to introduce the Scottish Child Payment.
Brexit will hit low income families the hardest and I will work to ban exploitative zero hours contracts, engage with local employers to promote real living wage status and use parliamentary processes to enable local groups to access much needed funding.
Gill Cole-Hamilton (Lib Dem): The first steps I would take is to be a good local MP, ensuring I was readily available to local people ensuring they were plugged into the right benefits and were having their claims fairly heard.
Lesley Laird (Labour): I’ve always championed our local organisations - they’re incredible - and it’s only thanks to them children here aren’t going to bed hungry at night. Low pay and insecure work are major contributors to in-work poverty.
Labour will immediately introduce a £10 per hour minimum wage from age 16, scrap zero-hours contracts, Universal Credit, and invest £100bn in Scotland.
Mitch William (Brexit Party): Set up an emergency committee to assess the needs, challenges and potential opportunities within the wider constituency.
Scott Rutherford (Green Party): A total of 17,667 children in Fife are growing up in poverty. This is appalling, and we now know the impact that adverse childhood experiences can have on children in later life.
Full devolution of social security powers to Holyrood would ensure that regardless of the revolving door of ministers in Westminster, we can address this head on at a local level.
Click the links below to find out where the candidates stand on the issues facing the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath Constituency.