EAST Renfrewshire MP Kirsten Oswald is a columnist for the Barrhead News.

This week she looks at how austerity is impacting society.

DESPITE the fine words of Theresa May when she took office about looking after everyone in society, it is clear the UK Government remains wedded to austerity, regardless of the impact on ordinary households.

Independent research shows new cuts to child tax credits will increase child poverty by 10 per cent by 2020.

The cut that sparked most outrage is the restriction of child benefit to two children per family, unless the Department for Work and Pensions accepts that the additional child is a product of rape.

The report, published by Policy in Practice, estimates that, across the UK, over 100,000 children will be born to low-income families that already have two children.

The result of the UK Government’s policy will be to drive over 250,000 children into poverty.

A further 250,000 children who are already living in poverty will fall deeper into poverty and it will push over 600,000 children in low to middle income households closer to the poverty line.

I know this kind of attack on the living standards of the poorest in our society – especially when it falls so heavily on children – does not reflect the values of the people I meet across East Renfrewshire.

This kind of ideological attack on the poor does not even sit well with Conservative supporters in this area, many of whom are active in faith groups and in the wider community.

Unfortunately, it has become part of the Scottish Government’s “day job” to mitigate the worst of the cuts coming from Westminster.

Since 2013, the Scottish Government has spent £400 million mitigating the impact of these cuts.

A total of £152m has gone into the Scottish Welfare Fund, helping families under pressure or facing a crisis. It has spent another £125m on Discretionary Housing Payments among other mitigation measures, much of that being to mitigate the disastrous Bedroom Tax.

It seems nothing will stop the UK Government pursuing its failed austerity agenda.

These latest cuts – which fall on already stretched low and middle income households – will exacerbate the deep-rooted injustices that exist in our society.

And it has not ended. The rollout of Universal Credit will see families with children worse off by an average of £960 a year in 2020 and single parent families by a huge £2,380.

The UK Government continues to shirk its responsibility to protect children from poverty.

The SNP Scottish Government is determined to deliver a more equal, fair and inclusive society.

That is why it will be using all of its limited powers to reduce poverty and tackle inequality.

However, it should not be necessary for the Scottish Government to mop up the devastation created by the UK Government’s ideological obsession with cuts.