Child poverty campaigners say UN investigators findings “a wake-up call” for government at every level | CPAG

Child poverty campaigners say UN investigators findings “a wake-up call” for government at every level

Published on: 
16 November 2018
Written by: 

Jen Gracie

Policy and parliamentary officer

Responding to the UN Special Rapporteur's report on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, John Dickie, the Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said:

“The Rapporteur’s findings should be a wake-up call for government at every level. As the UN investigator found out when he spoke to children in Glasgow child poverty isn’t only happening overseas, it is undermining children’s lives here in Scotland and across the UK.

“The key drivers of rising child poverty are clearly summarised by the UN rapporteurs description of the current UK approach to social security as ‘punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous'.

UK Ministers now need to wake up to the damage being wreaked and end the freeze on working age benefits, scrap the two child limit and fully restore the value of universal credit.” UN report contains important messages for local and national government in Scotland too, say campaigners.

The UN Rapporteur welcomed Scottish government action to mitigate UK cuts, but highlighted an accountability gap resulting from the “absence of…an explicit reference to international standards in the Social Security (Scotland) Act” to provide a secure legal underpinning to the right to social security. He also highlighted “a general lack of awareness of local welfare funds for people in crisis and the considerable variation in how local authorities process applications for these emergency grants.”

Responding to these Mr Dickie continued:

“There is no question that the driving forces behind rising child poverty are UK government benefit cuts but the UN report has important recommendations for government at national and local level here in Scotland. Ministers need to underpin the principles of dignity and respect for human rights in Scottish social security with explicit reference to international human rights frameworks, just as the Rapporteur says. And at local level access to the Scottish Welfare Fund needs to be easier and more consistent across Scotland to help ensure families in crisis have access to cash rather than being forced to foodbanks.”


  1. The UN Special rapporteurs findings can be read here https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23881&LangID=E%C2%A0
  2. Child Poverty Action Group’s submission to the investigation can be found at https://cpag.org.uk/policy-and-campaigns/briefing/submission-un-special-rapporteur-extreme-poverty-and-human-rights highlighted concerns “that there is no explicit requirement for the Social Security (Scotland) Act’s provisions to have due regard to international human rights frameworks”
  3. John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland, met with the UN Rapporteur as part of a visit to Avenue End primary school in Glasgow. The school, working with CPAG, has been at the forefront of action to involve children in taking positive action to reduce and remove financial barriers to participation at school.
  4. For further comment or interviews please contact John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland, on 07795 340 618