Families are being relentlessly hit by austerity on top of the pandemic
Families with children are being plunged into desperate financial insecurity in Scotland, a new report has warned.
The report from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) reveals that many families have very limited financial reserves following a decade of austerity, increasing levels of insecure work and benefit cuts.
Despite gradual improvements to levels of financial security over the last decade, 220,000 households across the country were struggling to get by at the point the pandemic struck.
It describes how even by May almost half (49%) of families with children were struggling to make ends meet, and that working parents were more likely to have experienced a significant and sustained fall in pay than workers without children.
John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said it provided further evidence that families with children who were already financially struggling are amongst those hardest hit by the economic impact of coronavirus.
He added: “It makes absolutely clear that further action at every level will now be needed to support families through the winter.
“The UK government must act with utmost urgency to not only maintain the £20 uplift to the standard allowance in universal credit but also increase the child element and child benefit too.”
This report argues for both long- and shorter-term action from both the UK and Scottish governments, and makes a number of recommendations that the report’s authors say can be delivered in the rest of this parliamentary term, between now and May next year.
Dickie continued: “Here in Scotland ministers must act on the recommendations in this report, build on existing commitments and make direct financial payments to low income families, using mechanisms like the school clothing grant and an additional one off supplement to the first Scottish child payment.
“The cost of failing to act now will not only be felt by tens of thousands of children across Scotland, but by all of us as we pick up the pieces from the economic and social damage that poverty wreaks.”