Child Poverty Action Group calls for £5 rise in child benefit
The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) is calling on the next Scottish government to increase child benefit by £5 a week to reduce child poverty.
Child poverty is projected to rise by 50 per cent by 2020 and child benefit alone is set to lose 28 per cent of its value by the end of the decade, according to the group.
In the face of this future crisis CPAG is calling on the next Scottish government to use its new social security powers under the Scotland Act to invest an extra £5 a week in child benefit.
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This increase, which would cost an estimated cost of £256m per year, could reduce child poverty in Scotland by 14 per cent and lift 30,000 children out of poverty, the campaigners claim.
John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland, said: “New powers coming to Scotland provide a golden opportunity for the new Scottish Government to invest directly in the next generation, reduce child poverty and set Scotland on a different trajectory from what independent forecasters tell us will happen to child poverty across the rest of the UK.
“£5 a week per child could help thousands of families avoid a visit to the food bank. It could make the difference between children missing out on school trips and joining in with their friends.
“Above all, £5 a week will reduce rates of child poverty in Scotland by up to 14 per cent, improving the prospects of thousands of Scotland’s children.”
CPAG sets out a range of other measures aimed eradicating child poverty in Scotland in its programme for government.
A key request is for the next government to introduce a child poverty act for Scotland that would provide a framework for the prevention, reduction and eradication of child poverty in Scotland.
The group also calls for investment in school clothing grants and a reduction in the cost of school to tackle the educational attainment gap.
Minimising errors and delays in devolved social security payments, ensuring families can access the Scottish Welfare Fund and benefits advice, making sure work pays and implementing an ambitious childcare strategy for Scotland including clear timescales for delivery are among the other action points the campaigners put forward.
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