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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Families on benefits will be forced to cut back on basic essentials, charity warns

 

A charity has now called for social security to be raised in line with inflation.

The families of over 250,000 children in Scotland are surviving on universal credit, government data show. 

Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on Tuesday show 254,393 children in Scotland were in families claiming the payment in November 2021. 

Analysis by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) shows that because universal credit is set to rise by only 3.1 per cent this April while inflation is expected to peak at 7.25 per cent, most of these families face a real-terms cut. 

CPAG said this could amount to a drop of around £570 per year in UK social security support, just as supermarket prices and energy costs surge.  

For families subject to the benefit cap, the loss will be even greater.

https://twitter.com/CPAGUK/status/1493547972822450180?s=20&t=X_Kg2oS3OdmjPzAecUzNJw

Universal credit was cut by £20 per week in October, with around 40 per cent of claimants currently in work.

CPAG is calling for an increase in UK social security payments of 7 per cent this April to match the expected inflation rate.  

The charity also called for the removal of the benefit cap, with 4.3m million UK children living below the poverty line. 

John Dickie, director of CPAG in Scotland, said: “The families behind today’s figures are battling to stay afloat against ever higher prices and a real-terms cut in vital social security support.  

“Unless the UK Government acts, the children in those families will inevitably feel the effect, as parents are forced to cut back even more on food, heating and basic essentials.  

“Increasing benefits in line with the expected inflation rate this spring is the minimum protection needed and would send a signal to desperately worried families that they have not been forgotten.”

Mr Dickie welcomed the Scottish government’s decision to double the Scottish child payment from April, saying the uplift cannot come soon enough. 

However, he said there is “no question more is needed”, urging ministers in Holyrood to go further by doubling the Scottish child bridging payments being made for school aged children. 

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A UK Government spokesperson said: “We know this has been a challenging time for many people, which is why we’re providing support worth around £12bn this financial year and next, to help households with the cost of living. This includes putting an average of £1,000 more per year into the pockets of working families via changes to Universal Credit and boosting the minimum wage by more than £1000 a year for full-time workers. We have also announced a further £9bn to protect against the impact of rising global energy prices.

“Our £500 million household support fund is helping the most vulnerable with essential costs this winter, £35 million is supporting schools in disadvantaged areas to provide breakfasts to those who need it, and our Holiday Activities and Food programme is providing healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children.

“Meanwhile, the Scottish Parliament has significant welfare powers and can top up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create entirely new benefits in areas of devolved responsibility."

 

Comments

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David
5 months ago

Well, you print money you pay the consequences in inflation (no matter how the economists like to spin it). Not like this has not been done before. They never learn. The poorest pay the price, not the wealthy during inflation. As they simply shift to assets during high inflation. Not much to do except resist the desire to austerity, raise taxes, print and borrow thus digging a deeper hole by using the same tools and expecting a different outcome. This is going to get much worse before it gets better.