Child poverty progress report welcome, but more ‘urgent and immediate’ action now needed say campaigners | CPAG

Child poverty progress report welcome, but more ‘urgent and immediate’ action now needed say campaigners

Published on: 
20 August 2020

Child poverty progress report welcome, but more ‘urgent and immediate’ action now needed say campaigners

  • Nearly one in four children still living in poverty – even before pandemic struck
  • Crystal clear’ that actions so far not enough to meet statutory child poverty targets

 

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland has welcomed publication of the Scottish Government’s annual report on child poverty progress, but called for further ‘urgent and immediate’ action to ensure child poverty targets are met.

Responding to the Report and accompanying Ministerial Statement today (Thursday 20th August), John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland, said;

“There is no question that important and welcome action has been taken on child poverty in Scotland, not least on developing the Scottish Child Payment, but it is also crystal clear that even before the Covid-19 crisis this wasn’t yet enough to meet the government’s own child poverty targets.

Before the pandemic struck nearly one in four of our children were already facing the devastating damage that poverty does to health, education and wellbeing. Now we know it is families who are already struggling that have been hardest hit by the economic impact of the virus.

It is vital that Ministers build on the important work described in this report and now identify the scale of what’s needed to get on track toward eradicating child poverty. Top of the list needs to be urgent and immediate action to protect and improve the job prospects of parents, especially mums, alongside further investment in our social security system to provide greater support through these challenging times. The revised timetable for delivering Scottish Child Payment really must be met, but in the meantime Scottish Ministers need to look again at ways of getting immediate cash support to all low income families, and the UK government needs to abandon the poverty producing two child limit and restore the value of child benefit.


We, along with many others in the End Child Poverty coalition, echo the Poverty and Inequality Commission’s recommendation that Ministers must now bridge the gap to the roll out of the Scottish Child Payment by providing additional direct and immediate financial support to low income families. Ministers need to shore up the family finances that are the foundation on which social renewal can be built and progress toward the 2030 child poverty targets achieved.”

 

ENDS

Journalists can contact John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland on 07795 340 618 or email jdickie@cpagscotland.org.uk

 

Notes to editors

  1. The Progress report can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/tackling-child-poverty-delivery-plan-second-year-progress-report-2019-20/
  2. The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 requires Scottish Ministers to publish an annual report on progress towards meeting the child poverty targets set out in the Act and on implementing its Child Poverty Delivery Plan.
  3. The child poverty targets state that by 2030, of children living in Scottish households:
  1. CPAG welcomes actions outlined in the progress report and their focus on increasing incomes and reducing the costs families face including the delivery of all three payments of the Best Start Grant, continued investment in income maximisation services and additional focus on parental employment. Yet two of the significant commitments - the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment and the expansion of early learning and childcare - have been delayed due to the pandemic.
  2. The Poverty and Inequality Commission recommend that “The Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland should reinstate their delivery timetable for the Scottish Child Payment and aim to make payments to children under the age of six by Christmas 2020. A mechanism should be found to make interim payments until the Scottish Child Payment is implemented, if the delivery timetable cannot be reinstated.” See: https://povertyinequality.scot/publication/poverty-and-inequality-commission-child-poverty-delivery-plan-scrutiny-2019-2020-report/
  3. There are a number of delivery options that could directly support the proposal for an interim payment, using existing payments and mechanisms at local and national level. These were outlined in a recent letter[i] from over 100 organisations and academics, by IPPR,[ii] by the Fraser of Allander Institute[iii] and the JRF[iv].