Urgent action on family incomes is needed to address food insecurity and wider pressures on families over the school holidays, say anti-poverty campaigners.
This comes as the Poverty and Inequality Commission published its advice for the Scottish Government on addressing poverty during school holidays. The independent commission is calling for a cash benefit to be introduced across Scotland during school holidays, which would be at least the value of school meals.
The Scottish Government has previously committed to introducing a wider income supplement by 2022 for low income families intended to lift the maximum number of children out of poverty.
Currently, around one in four children in Scotland live in poverty with this projected to rise to more than a third by 2021/22.*
John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland said: “We know from our work that families face acute pressures during the school holidays around food, childcare and paying for rewarding holiday activities.
The result is that for to many children and parents holidays are time of extra stress, rather than of fun new opportunities.
Lack of an adequate income is the fundamental driver of those additional pressures so it is right that further boosting family incomes has to be at the heart of any approach to supporting families during school holidays, alongside a joined up approach to reducing the costs of childcare and holiday activities.
We very much welcome the Scottish Government’s existing commitment to an income supplement, but families can’t wait until 2022. They need next month's Scottish budget to deliver new financial support immediately."
* Latest 2016/17 Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland figures, CH 15, table showing: relative poverty in Scottish households with children (AHC) 1994/5 to 2016/17, www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/03/3017/downloads (See Associated tables) and Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2017-18 to 2021-22, (Institute for Fiscal Studies) page 15, www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/comms/R136.pdf
Child Poverty Action Group works on behalf of the one in four children in Scotland growing up in poverty. It doesn’t have to be like this. We use our understanding of what causes poverty and the impact it has on children’s lives to campaign for policies that will prevent and solve poverty – for good. We are leading expert providers of second tier social security advice, information and training.
The Poverty and Inequality Commission’s report can be found here: https://povertyinequality.scot/publications/
The Scottish Government committed to introducing an income supplement as part of the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan. Available here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/child-chance-tackling-child-poverty-de...