Scottish budget “must do much more” if Scottish Government is to meet own child poverty reduction targets
Today’s draft Scottish budget plans need to go much further to tackle growing child poverty in Scotland, say campaigners.
Welcoming the £21 million committed for the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment* and the £3 million increase in funding for the Scottish Welfare Fund, Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland say that this alone is not nearly sufficient to meet the government’s own legally binding child poverty reduction targets.
Currently, almost one in four of Scotland’s children live in poverty and this is projected to rise to more than a third by 2030/31.** Yet the Scottish Government set statutory targets to reduce child poverty in 2017 to less than 10% by 2030.***
While the draft budget sets out an increase to the Scottish Welfare Fund, the Fund has failed to rise with inflation since its introduction in 2013. The addition of £3 million still represents a real terms reduction to its budget. ****
John Dickie, the Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said:
“Whilst the existing spending commitment to introduce the Scottish Child Payment is hugely welcome, this budget so far represents a missed opportunity to go further and demonstrate that budget decisions across the board, including on housing, transport, tax and employment, are being driven by the government’s own statutory child poverty targets. With UK government benefit cuts driving more and more families into hardship the Scottish Parliament must use every tool in its toolbox to protect Scotland's children.
“If the government’s statutory 2030 child poverty targets are to be met then every budget between now and 2030 must be a budget designed to achieve that aim. MSPs must now work together to ensure that final budget plans further boost family incomes and reduce the costs they face”.
For more information or interviews, please contact Director of Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, John Dickie, on: 07795 340 618
NOTES TO EDITORS
Scottish Government’s budget statement can be read here.
*For more information on the Scottish Child Payment, see: https://www.gov.scot/policies/social-security/scottish-child-payment/
*** For more information on the Scottish Government’s child poverty targets, see: https://www.gov.scot/policies/poverty-and-social-justice/child-poverty/