· 22 000 children pushed into poverty in Scotland by today’s universal credit cut
· Calls on Prime Minster to reverse the cut immediately
· Charity highlights support families are still entitled in bid to protect children from impact
· First Minister urged to bring forward plans to double Scottish child payment
Child poverty campaigners are today (Wed 6th October) highlighting the financial support that hard up families are still entitled to as the £20 a week cut to universal credit comes into effect.
In a short new report After the universal credit cut – what now?, published as part of Challenge Poverty Week, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland says too many families don’t claim council tax reduction or other benefits that they have a right to, including additional support for disabilities or long term illness. With a £1040 a year cut to their universal credit now a harsh reality they say it is vital these families are supported to get the benefits they are still entitled to.
Commenting on the report Kirsty McKechnie, CPAG in Scotland’s Early Warning System project manager, said;
“It is shameful that the Prime Minister has pressed ahead with today’s extraordinary cut to ordinary family incomes – ripping over a £1000 a year from already inadequate family budgets. The UK government really must think again and reverse this cut before the damage mounts irreparably. In the meantime it’s vital that families are supported to claim the other financial benefits they are entitled to. We know that too many are missing out on council tax reduction and on disability benefits for example, while others are unaware that their children may be entitled to free school meals and school clothing grants. And of course the new Scottish child payment is an important source of additional support, including for many working families.”
The new report highlights that the universal credit cut will now:
· push an estimated 22,000 children into poverty in Scotland alone
· increase the loss in social security support available to a low paid workers since 2010 dramatically. For example a full time care-worker and their family see the support they have lost compared to 2010 increase from £733 a year to £1773
· mean 8000 children in Scotland will lose entitlement to universal credit altogether
Ms McKechnie continued
“The scale of the loss ordinary families face as a result of this UK government cut is frightening. It makes the Scottish government’s commitment to double the value of the new Scottish child payment even more important. Children need to see that additional support now.”
For further information and interviews contact Kirsty McKechnie, CPAG in Scotland on 0777 9607166
· CPAG in Scotland works for the one in four children in Scotland growing up in poverty. We collect evidence from families living in poverty and campaign for solutions to bring about a society where children have a fair chance in life free from hardship. We provide training, advice and information on social security to frontline workers to make sure families get the financial support they need.
· Challenge Poverty Week is designed to show that a society without poverty is possible, and to showcase solutions we can all get behind. That’s why each year, united by common values of justice and compassion, hundreds of organisations in Scotland take part in the week. The week is coordinated by The Poverty Alliance
· CPAG publishes a list of all the different benefits that families might be entitled to at Financial Help in the Early Years. Further detail is available in the CPAG What You Need to Know Guide: Financial Help for Families.
· Advice services, such as Citizens Advice and welfare rights services, can check a family is receiving everything that they are entitled to and provide support to claim new benefits and challenge any benefit decisions that might be wrong.