Payments will help struggling families
Poverty campaigners have hailed the Scottish Government after it announced a £5 a week increase to the Scottish child payment by end of 2022.
The payment is currently £10 a month but will double to £20 a month by April and will now rise to £25 per week by the end of the year.
It will also be extended to children under the age of 16 by the end of 2022.
In a statement at Holyrood, social justice secretary Shona Robison set out the increase to the payment.
Robison told MSPs that over 400,000 children will be eligible for the payment.
The new measures form part of a plan aimed at tackling child poverty.
The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 requires the Scottish Government to publish a plan and provide a ministerial statement at regular intervals.
Peter Kelly of the Poverty Alliance said: “A clear message from Poverty Alliance members ahead of the new plan was to ‘put money in people’s pockets’.
“Commitments to increase the Scottish Child Payment to £25 by the end of this year and to mitigate the unjust benefit cap are therefore welcome.
“However, there is significant scope to go much further to ensure that cash makes it to those who most need it."
Marion Davis, head of policy at One Parent Families Scotland said the UK government had created a “perfect storm” for poverty, debt and despair for many low income families.
She added: “The commitment of a further £5 a week increase to the Scottish Child Payment by end of 2022 will be greatly welcomed by the many parents struggling to put food on the table.
“However we know further increases will be necessary to help meet the statutory child poverty targets in 2024 and 2030.”
Claire Telfer, head of Scotland at Save the Children said: “We applaud the ambition to meet the interim child poverty targets set out in today’s plan, and wholeheartedly welcome key actions.
“Families will benefit from a £25 Scottish Child Payment by the end of this year, as well as action to mitigate the UK Government’s benefit cap and significant investment in employability support.
“The plan looks set to make much needed progress in the right direction. Parents tell us that they need additional cash in household budgets to improve life for their children, we know that these measures will help.”
John Dickie head of Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland said that the announcement is hugely welcome, and stands in stark contrast to the UK Chancellor’s lack of support for families yesterday.
However he cautioned: “More immediate support is also needed to protect families through the current cost of living crisis.
“Doubling bridging payments for school aged children until the child payment is fully rolled out and pressing on with the promised roll out of free school meals to all primary pupils are two immediate further actions that would provide much needed relief to family budgets as this new delivery plan is implemented.”