NEALE HANVEY said the only way to eradicate the “scourge of child poverty in Fife” is to introduce a Universal Basic Income.

And the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP called on the Scottish Government to push ahead with a proposed trial in the Kingdom despite the UK Government’s refusal to support such a pilot.

Mr Hanvey, who left the SNP to join the Alba Party earlier this year, said: "Something is going seriously wrong when there are kids at risk of going hungry during the school holidays, particularly when you think of the wealth in our country.”

His calls for a Universal Basic Income come as a report from the TUC found that one in five children in the UK whose parents are key workers are currently living below the official breadline.

The MP has been a vocal proponent of the idea since his election in 2019 and in May last year, he joined a campaign of 110 parliamentarians pushing for its introduction.

Under a Universal Basic Income pilot, everyone in Fife would receive a monthly payment from the Scottish Government, and this would replace several existing benefits.

However, ministers have maintained it would not be possible to run such a pilot without the support of the UK Government, since social security remains largely reserved to Westminster.

Last June, we reported that Fife was one of four Scottish local authorities who were looking into the feasibility of a Citizens' Basic Income pilot scheme, which would give a regular, unconditional payment to all individuals.

Paul Vaughan, head of communities and neighbourhoods at Fife Council, and member of a steering group looking into the idea, said at the time: “We are clear that a pilot of basic income is desirable and we have described how and what would need to be done for this to happen.

“However, we also recognise that, at this time, it’s not currently feasible to progress to a pilot due to the very complex legislative, technical and delivery challenges associated with the institutional arrangements needed for a pilot.

"If these barriers are to be overcome, sustained support across all levels of government (local, Scottish and UK) for the duration of the pilot and evaluation will be needed.”

This week, Mr Hanvey said: “The new report from the TUC shows yet again how children across these islands are facing horrific hardship. We’re talking about kids whose parents are in work, doing crucial frontline jobs, in a group of nations with vast natural and human resources.

“I hear the same stories every week from organisations across the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency.

“Well, we can complain about the impact of austerity from Westminster, the fact the UK Government has removed the £20-a-week Universal Credit uplift, and the lack of support for folk throughout the pandemic – or we can do something about it.

“That’s why I’m calling on the Scottish Government to push ahead with an adapted version of the proposed Universal Basic Income pilot in Fife.

"It won’t be exactly as planned, given the limited powers we have over social security, but we must be bold.

"It is imperative that we try everything possible to solve the terrible scourge of child poverty in Fife and across Scotland.”