KEIR Starmer has not even acknowledged an invitation to Bute House to discuss child poverty and other key issues, First Minister Humza Yousaf has said – more than a month after the offer was made.

The SNP leader told press at an event in Edinburgh that he was “still waiting for a reply, even an acknowledgement” from Starmer after issuing the invitation on January 21.

In a letter sent to the Labour leader, Yousaf had invited Starmer to meet to “discuss how intergovernmental relations might be improved in the event of UK Labour forming the UK government after the next General Election, in order that our governments would be better able to address vital issues for our economy and society: first and foremost the fight against poverty”.

On Wednesday, the First Minister spoke to the media after publishing modelling showing that Scottish Government policies were expected to lift 100,000 children out of relative poverty in 2024-25 – and 70,000 out of deep poverty – compared to if devolution did not exist.

Asked if hitting child poverty targets was realistic given that the modelling also showed a slight increase in absolute child poverty from 2023-24 to 2024-2025, Yousaf said: “It's going to be difficult. It's going to be challenging. That's why I'm also calling on the UK Government to help, not just here in Scotland, but right across the UK.

"Lifting the two-child limit, introducing an essentials guarantee, making some changes to how Universal Credit is awarded, these actions could, for example, cumulatively help to lift a further 40,000 children in Scotland out of poverty.

“So that would greatly help on our way to those overall targets, let alone the interim targets.”

He went on: “We would be greatly aided in that endeavour by, of course, the restoration of cuts to our budget, but also by the UK Government, who still continue to hold many of the levers to help lift children out of poverty.

“It is why I'm so frustrated and disappointed that Keir Starmer hasn't responded. I mean, I'm not expecting a response from the Conservatives. I think they've made it very clear that they are OK to give tax cuts to those at the highest level of the scale. They're happy to do that at the expense of children and families.

“I wouldn’t expect any less from the Conservatives, but it’s a shame that I've not had a response from Keir Starmer.”

Responding to Yousaf, a Labour spokesperson accused him of playing "games".

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They said: “The SNP have completely failed on child poverty in Scotland. It’s no wonder that Scots are crying out for change not just from them, but from the Tories too.

“From a culture of secrecy and cover-up to life-threatening failures in our NHS, Humza Yousaf’s party is failing working people across Scotland, and it is high time he focused on fixing the mess the SNP have made instead of playing political games.

"Only a Labour government, with Scottish Labour MPs, can deliver the change that Scotland and all of the UK needs.”

The Scottish Government analysis says it has considered a person to be in “deep poverty” if their equivalised household income after housing costs is below 50% of the median, as compared to 60% of the median on the “relative poverty” measure.