Kezia Dugdale pledges Labour support for child benefit increase
Child - PA
Scottish Labour will back a campaign to raise child benefit, leader Kezia Dugdale has said.
More than 210,000 children live in poverty in Scotland, which has an impact on health outcomes and opportunities.
Children in Scotland and the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland and others have called for an £5 top-up in child benefits as a way of tackling child poverty.
Child Poverty Action Group calls for £5 rise in child benefit
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In her keynote speech to Scottish Labour conference in Perth today, Dugdale said Labour will urge the SNP to include the plan in its current Child Poverty Bill.
Child Benefit for the first child is currently £1,076 per year. By 2021 this would increase to £1,316 per year under the proposal.
"Using the new welfare powers in the Scottish Parliament, we will campaign to create a new Scottish Child Benefit," she said.
"Our plan would see child benefit increase by £240 per year by the end of this Parliament, increasing by £13 a month next year, before rising to £20 per month in 2020.
"The Child Poverty Bill – now in the Scottish Parliament – should take meaningful action to combat poverty, as well as setting targets.
"That is why in the coming weeks, we will push the Government to include this action in the Child Poverty Bill.
"And if they won’t do it we will seek to amend the law ourselves.
"Our plan would mean help for the majority of families across Scotland, and would mean 18,000 fewer children living in poverty in the first year, and up to 30,000 once these changes are fully implemented."