Deputy First Minister tells charity conference the number of children living in poverty will increase by 100,000 by 2020
The number of Scottish children living in poverty will increase by 100,000 by 2020 the Scottish Government has claimed at a Scottish charity conference.
Speaking at the annual Poverty Alliance conference, deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said families across Scotland are being hit hard by UK government changes to the benefit system .
Those with two children in receipt of child benefit, she said, will have lost out on £1,100 in the six years up to 2015/16.
Mothers claiming statutory maternity pay will also lose out on around £330 in 2015-16 as a result of changes to statutory maternity payment.
“It is clear that the UK government’s benefit reform programme unfairly impacts on some of the most vulnerable members of our society,” she said.
“Nearly every household in Scotland in receipt of a working age benefit will be affected by plans to introduce a two year benefit freeze. These planned changes will see Scotland’s benefit expenditure reduced by around £300 million in 2017-18.
Poverty is the biggest issue Scotland faces, and with one in five children growing up in poverty it is impossible to ignore
“These welfare changes do not work for the people of Scotland. Poverty increased in Scotland in 2012-13 for the first time in a decade - an increase that is expected to continue.”
Sturgeon added since April 2012, the number of children whose families receive in-work tax credits has decreased by 120,000, which could contribute to an additional 100,000 Scottish children living in poverty by 2020.
Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, welcomed Sturgeon’s contribution to the conference. He added: “Poverty is the biggest issue Scotland faces, and with one in five children growing up in poverty it is impossible to ignore.
“We are working with our members, our partners on the Scottish Campaign on Welfare Reform and groups from across civil society to consider what new powers would mean for Scotland and the fight against poverty.
“We will be using the learning from this event, and our event later in the month on more powers, to consider the implications of further devolution and how any new powers can work alongside existing powers to ensure the eradication of poverty in Scotland once and for all.”
The Scottish Government’s submission to the Smith Commission called for Scotland to have full responsibility over welfare and social policy.