Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland
For immediate release
Monday, 29th March 2021
Campaigners welcome growing support for doubling of Scottish child payment
Child poverty campaigners today welcomed growing support across the political spectrum for the next Parliament to at least double the value of the Scottish child payment. The policy call has been at the centre of campaigns by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland and a broad coalition of children’s charities and anti-poverty campaigners - including the Scottish Campaign on Rights to Social Security (SCoRSS), who launch their manifesto today, and the End Child Poverty coalition, who made the call in January.
All Holyrood’s political parties backed the 2017 Child Poverty (Scotland) Act which set targets to reduce child poverty to less than 18% by 2023/24 and less than 10% by 2030. The new Scottish child payment of £10 per week for each child in families receiving universal credit or equivalent legacy benefits was introduced from February this year for children under six. Scottish government forecasts suggest that the existing £10 a week Scottish child payment will lift around 30 000 children out of poverty by 2023/24. However official statistics published last week revealed 26% of children were still living in poverty even before the pandemic hit. Recent reports and analysis published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, IPPR Scotland and Fraser of Allandar Institute (see notes below) all suggest meeting the 2023/24 target means lifting at least 50 000 more children out of poverty – with a Scottish child payment increase from the current £10 a week to £40 a week enough to achieve this even in the absence of other substantial labour market and housing policy changes.
John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, today said:
“With one in four of our children still living in poverty the growing support across the political spectrum for at least doubling the Scottish child payment is hugely welcome. All the evidence show this will need to happen as soon as possible as an absolutely critical first step toward meeting the 2023/24 child poverty target that all the parties in the last Scottish Parliament agreed. Of course increasing family benefits on its own cannot end child poverty. We need to see action on pay and conditions to make work a real route out of poverty and further action to tackle housing and childcare costs is also needed. But investing significantly more in the Scottish child payment is essential in order to reach the child poverty targets and build the foundations on which wider action to end child poverty can be built.”
For further comment of background contact John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland on 07795 340 618
The End Child Poverty Holyrood manifesto can be found at https://cpag.org.uk/end-child-poverty-scotland and the Scottish Campaign on Rights to Social Security (SCoRSS) at https://cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/files/scorss_manifesto_2021.pdf
Scottish government forecasts suggest that the existing £10 a week Scottish child payment will lift around 30 000 children out of poverty by 2023/24. Analysis from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggests that despite this the interim 2023/24 child poverty target enshrined in the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act will be missed by four percentage points, with 40,000 more children left in poverty than if the targets were met. However meeting the target is possible if the Scottish child payment is increased, they conclude.
IPPR analysis Better than before: A 'social renewal supplement' on higher earners in Scotland published March 2021 demonstrates that by increasing the Scottish child payment from £10 to £40 per week a further 50 000 more children could be lifted out of poverty.
Fraser of Allander analysis published on 24th March 2021 at https://fraserofallander.org/poverty-and-inequality-looking-pre-and-post-pandemic/ concludes that the “good news is that, based on the assumption of broad economic recovery over the next few years, our analysis shows that meeting these (Child Poverty) targets is possible with the powers that the Scottish Government currently hold” and that “if the Scottish Child Payment was used alone to meet the target, a payment of £40 a week would meet the interim target and cost in the region of half a billion a year”.
Scottish Government Poverty and Inequality statistics were published on 25th March 2021 at https://www.gov.scot/collections/child-poverty-statistics/