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Scottish child payment must rise to £30 warns civil society

This news post is 7 months old

First minister must deliver on his leadership campaign commitment

First minister Humza Yousaf must deliver his party’s pledge to raise the Scottish child payment to £30, more than 150 civil society groups have warned.

Faith groups, trade unions and community organisations from the Outer Hebrides to the Scottish Borders have today (28 November) sent an open letter to Scotland’s first minister, urging him to deliver on his leadership campaign commitment. 

By April 2024, the letter highlights the payment will not have been increased for 16 months. Yet, during that period, families have been facing inflation rates that haven’t been seen for decades – with costs still rising, and low-income households worst affected.

Increasing the payment to £30 needs to be a first step they say, citing independent analysis that a £40 per week payment will be needed to be sure child poverty falls in line with government targets.  

Signatories to the letter – including the Archbishop of Glasgow, the Childrens Commissioner, the general secretary of the STUC, and the heads of dozens of children’s charities and anti-poverty groups - say the first minister must also prioritise child poverty focused investment across early learning and childcare, employability, fair work, family support and housing.  

They say the “harsh reality” is that tens of thousands of children across Scotland remain locked in poverty. They point to the government’s own analysis showing that existing policies are not yet sufficient to meet legally binding child poverty targets. The budget, they say, is a critical test of the Scottish Government’s willingness to match ambition with the tax and spending plans needed to realise that ambition.  

Speaking on behalf of members of the End Child Poverty coalition, who organised the letter, John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said: “Today’s letter to Humza Yousaf demonstrates the largest yet coalition of support for a further increase to the Scottish child payment and a prioritising of child poverty across government spending.

“The first minister himself has said his defining mission is to shift the dial on child poverty and that he wants to see the child payment increased to £30 in his first Budget.

“It’s now critical for Scotland’s children that his tax and spending plans deliver on those commitments.”

General secretary of the STUC, Roz Foyer, one of the signatories to the letter, said: “Child poverty is an absolute scandal that should shame those in positions of power. The Scottish Trades Union Congress is proud to support the call for significant additional investment to tackle child poverty in the upcoming budget. 

“During this cost of living crisis, raising the Scottish Child Payment from £25 to £30 per week is imperative to ensure that families have enough to live on. We need to see significant investment to improve the lives of millions and loosen the grip of poverty.”  

Lilian Macer, Scottish secretary of Unison, added: “We need significant investment in tackling child poverty – both through improving funding for the services that help offset the damage poverty does to children lives and directly, by increasing the value of the Scottish Child Payment which has been such a welcome initiative.”  

Carolyn Currie, chief executive of Women’s Enterprise Scotland, the national organisation that champions women-led and women-owned businesses, and another signatory to the letter, said: “Women’s Enterprise Scotland is committed to the vision of a more equitable Scotland, including the eradication of child poverty. We support the call to increase the Scottish Child Payment as a vital step in better equipping families to face the ongoing cost of living crisis.

"This action is key to making progress on child poverty in Scotland."