"Time to deliver": Child poverty campaigners in Programme for Government call on First Minister
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s Programme for Government statement from the First Minister, John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland said:
“The First Minister has been right to say that tackling child poverty must be a top priority and his leadership campaign pledge to increase the Scottish child payment to £30 in his first budget was especially welcome. His first Programme for Government is his opportunity to show he will deliver on that promise. With low-income families still reeling under the pressures of the cost-of-living crisis there is not a moment to lose to turn his welcome words into concrete policies.”
In a briefing circulated to all MSPs the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland say Scottish government policies, including the Scottish child payment, are working to reduce child poverty. However, they point to the government’s own analysis (see Note 1) showing that the interim child poverty target may be missed, and that the government’s current policy package is not sufficient to meet the 2030 target of less than 10% of children living in poverty by 2030. With one in four children still locked in poverty they say the Programme for Government must now include action that will:
- Increase the Scottish child payment at the very least to £30 per week from April 2024, as committed by the First Minister in his leadership campaign (note 2). To be sure of bringing child poverty below 18% (the interim statutory child poverty target) they say a £40 Scottish child payment is needed (note 3).
- Provide additional cash payments to families impacted by the UK government’s poverty producing two-child benefit limit and by the young parent penalty in universal credit. CPAG analysis shows the two-child limit affects over 80 000 children in Scotland and pushes up to 15 000 of them into poverty.
- Further invest in childcare so that every parent can access the childcare they need, when they need it.
- Keep the manifesto commitment to increase the minimum school clothing grant in line with inflation. That would mean lifting them to at least £150 (from £120) for primary school and £185 (from £150) for high school pupils by summer 2024.
- Ensure that schools have sufficient resources to remove cost barriers, including to provide every child with a device and connectivity; remove costs for curriculum related trips and activities and ensure all pupils can attend ‘rite of passage’ trips.
- Be bold in using tax powers in a progressive way to ensure sufficient resources are available to fully deliver on the actions that are needed to tackle child poverty.
For further comment contact John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland on 07795 340 618
 “Yousaf has previously announced he would look to increase the payment, but says he would push it to £30 per week from £25 in his first budget if elected first minister.” https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2023/mar/07/snp-leadership-debate-live-hamza-yousaf-kate-forbes-and-ash-regan-to-set-out-visions-for-scotland and https://twitter.com/CPAGScotland/status/1633482352193052673.
 Further details of the actions CPAG believe need to be included in the Programme for Government can be found here.