Double Scottish Child Payment, finance secretary told
The finance secretary has been urged to immediately double the Scottish Child Payment at next month’s budget.
The Scottish Government has previously committed to double the payment to £20 per week “as early within the life of this parliament as possible”.
But an open letter signed by over 100 charities, trade unions, faith groups and civic organisations has said the increase to benefits “cannot wait”.
Campaigners said the government has a “moral responsibility” to tackle child poverty.
The letter says: “Action is needed as a matter of utmost urgency to meet these targets and protect families from a perfect storm of financial uncertainty.
“The UK government’s removal of the £20 universal credit uplift, the increase in energy prices and the broader rise in the cost of living are increasing financial insecurity for those who have been hardest hit by the pandemic – particularly women, single parents, disabled people and those from black and minority ethnic communities.
“Their incomes will not stretch any further. Many more families are now at risk of poverty.
“Doubling the Scottish Child Payment is the single most impactful thing the Scottish Government can do now to protect families and give Scotland a chance to meet our child poverty targets. Families cannot wait any longer for this financial support.”
Kate Forbes will deliver the Scottish budget on Thursday 9 December.
The Scottish Child Payment started in February 2021, providing £10 per week to families with children under six.
The plan is to fully roll out the payment to all children under the age of 16 by the end of next year, subject to data being received from the DWP.
Children’s commissioner Bruce Adamson, one of the signatories, said the matter was an urgent human rights issue.
He said: “Poverty was the biggest human rights issue facing children before the pandemic, now it is worse. Children have the right to an adequate standard of living and to benefit from social security.”