Scottish Government urged to bring income supplement forward to tackle rising child poverty
A new income top-up benefit for families in Scotland should be introduced earlier than planned to address rising levels of child poverty, campaigners have urged the Scottish Government.
A new report by think tanks IPPR Scotland and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation says that without new measures being introduced, 50,000 more children will fall into poverty between 2017-18 and 2023-24.
That is the equivalent of 25 children a day entering into relative poverty.
The income supplement is due to be introduced as part of the Scottish Government’s new social security system in 2022.
IPPR Scotland director Russell Gunson said the figures show it should happen sooner.
“The Scottish Government has promised to introduce an income supplement as part of wider plans to help to reduce child poverty.
“This is a golden opportunity to help tens of thousands of children escape poverty in Scotland.
“But given increasing child poverty rates, we want to see urgent action to make a start earlier than planned.
“We believe the Scottish Government can and should bring forward plans for an income supplement before the end of this parliament, and to consider an interim payment before this.”
John Dickie, the Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said: “At least three years and three budget opportunities have come and gone since the Scottish government was first urged to use new social security powers to significantly boost family incomes.
“Tens of thousands of children have been pushed into poverty in that time as a result of UK cuts. This analysis shows tens of thousands more are at risk.
“As each year passes childhoods are slipping away, childhoods undermined by the ill health, educational underachievement and stress that poverty too often brings. As this report makes absolutely clear the time for action is now.”