This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

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.

Top-up child payment to address age discrimination, First Minister told

This news post is 9 months old

Charities have joined forces to put pressure on the Scottish Government. 

A coalition of more than 80 charities has urged the Scottish Government to help tackle age discrimination in the UK welfare system.

First Minister Humza Yousaf has been told he must help struggling young parents by increasing the Scottish Child Payment. 

The campaigning organisations, who include One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS), Trussell Trust Scotland and the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, have called for further mitigation to address the age discrimination in Universal Credit, which sees young parents about £120 worse off a month while single parents are penalised £75 per month.

The 80 groups are supporting the End Young Parent Poverty: Top up the Scottish Child Payment campaign, and urged the decision ahead of the Scottish Parliament’s Programme for Government is unveiled in September. 

The plans would see a top-up to the Scottish Child Payment for parents under 25 in receipt of Universal Credit.

It is estimated that 55% of children with mums under 25 in Scotland are in poverty – more than double the overall rate of child poverty.

Satwat Rehman, OPFS chief executive, told the Daily Record: "The First Minister has an opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to tackling child poverty and supporting the most vulnerable in our society.

"The Scottish Government points to the Scottish Child Payment as its flagship policy for tackling child poverty. This support for low-income families is welcome, but it does not address the inequality young parents face.

"The Scottish Child Payment provides £100 per month for one child – an amount which sadly doesn’t even close the gap between under 25s and over 25s in Universal Credit.

“If the First Minister wants his government’s investment to have a real impact for the most vulnerable families, he needs to be serious about taking action to address inequalities."

Cara Hilton, public affairs manager at Trussell Trust Scotland, added: "No parent in Scotland should have to use a food bank to feed their family right now, yet food banks are the busiest they’ve ever been.

"Cost of living pressures are hitting young parents especially hard, because single parents under 25 receive £75 less per month than over 25s and young couple parents under 25 receive £120 less per month. This isn’t right.

"If the Scottish Government is to deliver on its child poverty reduction targets, it’s time to end the young parent penalty and work to ensure all young parents can afford the essentials.”

Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville told the newspaper: “Universal Credit is reserved to the UK Government, which has deliberately introduced age discrimination within it.

"The Scottish Government is opposed to the UK Government’s treatment of young parents who receive Universal Credit but we do not have the powers or budget to mitigate every damaging policy of the UK Government.

“Due to Scottish Government policies an estimated 90,000 fewer children are expected to live in relative and absolute poverty this year, with poverty levels 9% points lower than they would have otherwise been.

"This includes lifting an estimated 50,000 children out of poverty through investment in the Scottish Child Payment.”

“We are doing all we can to tackle poverty and protect people from UK Government policies but we do so within a fixed budget and limited powers.

“We will continue to call for more powers and more resources so we can fully support people, but is only with the full economic and fiscal powers of an independent nation that Ministers can use all levers other governments have to tackle inequalities.”