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Poverty 'is most important issue'
The Poverty Alliance says more than one-fifth of Scottish children are living on low incomes
Political parties should set out how they will achieve social justice in the debate about Scotland's constitutional future, according to anti-poverty campaigners.
The issue should be key among politicians whether they support independence or not, umbrella group the Poverty Alliance said.
Director Peter Kelly said: "Scotland is experiencing a crisis that pre-dates our current economic woes. We have more than one-fifth of children living on low incomes, entrenched health inequalities and a labour market that is unable to lift thousands out of poverty.
"We believe that there is no more important question than how we create a fairer, more socially just Scotland.
"The referendum on Scotland's future gives us an opportunity to debate what kind of Scotland we wish to live in and how we get there."
A discussion paper published by the Poverty Alliance focuses on five areas: poverty and power; equality and fairness; welfare state and benefits; Scotland's workforce; and democratic Scotland.
Questions posed include: "How would you ensure that people who needed it were able to access decent jobs in Scotland that would help lift them out of poverty?"
The paper will promote discussion among the alliance's members and wider network. It will be distributed to both sides of the referendum campaign.
A spokesman for pro-independence organisation Yes Scotland said: "We welcome this initiative from the Poverty Alliance to broaden the independence debate beyond party political lines. We said at the outset that this is the people's referendum and that it is too important to be left solely to politicians.
"Independence will provide a unique opportunity for Scots to help shape the kind of country we want for ourselves and future generations."
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