Momentum gathers for doubling the payment
Child poverty campaigners have hailed growing support for doubling the Scottish child payment.
The call has been at the centre of campaigns by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland and a broad coalition of children’s charities and anti-poverty
All Holyrood’s political parties backed the 2017 Child Poverty (Scotland) Act which set targets to reduce child poverty to less than 18% by 2023/24 and less than 10% by 2030.
The new Scottish child payment of £10 per week for each child in families receiving universal credit or equivalent legacy benefits was introduced from February this year for children under six. Scottish government forecasts suggest that the existing £10 a week Scottish child payment will lift around 30 000 children out of poverty by 2023/24.
However official statistics published last week revealed 26% of children were still living in poverty even before the pandemic hit.
Recent reports and analysis published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, IPPR Scotland and Fraser of Allandar Institute (see notes below) all suggest meeting the 2023/24 target means lifting at least 50,000 more children out of poverty – with a Scottish child payment increase from the current £10 a week to £40 a week enough to achieve this even in the absence of other substantial labour market and housing policy changes.
John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said: “With one in four of our children still living in poverty the growing support across the political spectrum for at least doubling the Scottish child payment is hugely welcome.
“All the evidence show this will need to happen as soon as possible as an absolutely critical first step toward meeting the 2023/24 child poverty target that all the parties in the last Scottish Parliament agreed. Of course increasing family benefits on its own cannot end child poverty.
“We need to see action on pay and conditions to make work a real route out of poverty and further action to tackle housing and childcare costs is also needed.
“But investing significantly more in the Scottish child payment is essential in order to reach the child poverty targets and build the foundations on which wider action to end child poverty can be built.”