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300,000 families in Scotland struggling financially through coronavirus crisis

Child and parent - Image credit: PA

300,000 families in Scotland struggling financially through coronavirus crisis

Almost half of families with children in Scotland are struggling financially through the coronavirus crisis, research has found.

IPPR Scotland found that 49 per cent of households with children – 300,000 families – are either ‘struggling to make ends meet’ or ‘in serious financial difficulty’.

One in five families with dependent children described themselves as having the worst level of financial stress ‘in serious financial difficulty’, which is where they are most likely to be struggling to pay for food or essential items.

Just fifteen percent of families with dependent children reporting being financially secure.

Overall 30 per cent of households in Scotland said that they were struggling financially, with 12 per cent in serious financial difficulty.

IPPR Scotland have called on the Scottish Government to pay out lump sums of £250 to low-income families this summer, which would be the equivalent of £10 a week for six months.

They also ­want the UK Government to increase child benefit by £5 for the duration of the crisis, as well as increasing Universal Credit child supplements and ending the two-child limit and benefit cap.

The IPPR recommendations come as over 100 organisations and campaigners have come together to issue a joint call for the Scottish Government to increase support for families living in poverty in Scotland.

The groups have sent a joint letter asking for a cash boost equivalent to at least £10 per week to be given to all low-income families.

Backed by charities, academics, trade unions and community groups, the letter expresses “grave concern” that the coronavirus crisis is putting families under such financial strain that it “risks long-term consequences for Scotland’s children”.

They say an out of work family with two children will be left 20 per cent below the poverty line.

The letter says: “In the face of this increased hardship our organisations continue to call for the UK Government to take action to ensure that UK social security system protects people from poverty.

“However, we believe that where any level of government can do more to loosen the grip of poverty then it must.

“We therefore believe that the time has come to build on the existing investments made by your government and the emergency provision provided by children’s charities and others and provide a direct financial boost to all low-income families.

“The £10 per week Scottish Child Payment will be a vital lifeline but will not start to be delivered until next year.

“Families need a lifeline now to help them weather this storm.

“We call on you to use every tool at your government’s disposal to deliver an emergency package of financial support to all low-income families –a package we believe should amount to at least the equivalent of £10 per week per child.”

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