UN special rapporteur's Scotland visit highlights extreme hardship facing families, say child poverty campaigner
Speaking ahead of a roundtable meeting with Professor Philip Alston, the UN’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, in Glasgow tomorrow (Friday 9th November) John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland said;
“This UN investigation must shine a spotlight on the extreme hardship the UK government's benefit freeze and flawed universal credit roll out is pushing children into. That we see children across Scotland, and the rest of the UK, being forced to rely on food banks, deprived of core school opportunities and having the joy of childhood undermined by hopelessly inadequate family finances is unforgivable.
While the drivers of rising hardship are UK government driven, there are also solutions here in Scotland. It is vital that swift progress is made to deliver on the welcome Scottish Government commitment to a new income supplement for families. An initial supplement must be introduced as quickly as possible, with resources allocated in the forthcoming Scottish Budget to begin delivery in 2019/20. An immediate £5 top up to child benefit could, for example, lift tens of thousands of children out of poverty.
More generally the Scottish Government’s commitment to the principle that social security is a human right is more important than ever. It is now vital that the detailed provisions that will underpin devolved benefits have clear regard to that principle and to international human rights frameworks so that the damage we have seen done to UK social security is never repeated in the new Scottish system.
Every week that passes sees more children pushed into poverty as UK welfare reforms hack away at the value of the vital support that families in and out of work rely on. A step change in the scale of investment here in Scotland is now needed to avert the government's own horrendous projection of a future where 2 in every 5 children are living in poverty by 2030."
For further comment or interviews please contact John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland, on 07795 340 618