Child benefit rise will lift thousands of Scots from poverty

Child poverty2

Think tanks says rise in child benefit would be a vital lift for low income Scots 

5th March 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Topping up child benefit could take tens of thousands of children out of poverty according to a think tank report.

Increasing the benefit by £50 per month would see almost 50,000 children lifted from poverty said the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR).

The call was backed by the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland which has been trying to convince Scottish ministers to top-up to the benefit over past years.

If nothing is done child poverty will increase as UK government benefit cuts hit the poorest hardest, the report stated.

It said: “Topping-up the child element of Universal Credit by £50 per month could bring 45,000 children out of relative poverty, at a cost of £390m per year.

“Topping up the child element of Universal Credit by £150 per month could bring 100,000 children out of relative poverty, costing £950m per year, bringing relative child poverty rates in Scotland down to 19%.”

Russell Gunson, director of IPPR Scotland, said: “The scale of the challenge we have set ourselves in reducing child poverty in Scotland is rightly ambitious.

“And it won’t be helped by UK government cuts to benefits which, if left intact, will increase child poverty in Scotland over the coming years. But we can succeed if we match the scale of the challenge with a similar scale of ambition.”

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, backed the move.

“With one in four children now living in poverty the respected IPPR think tank's call for a "down payment" toward meeting child poverty targets could not be more timely," he said.

"Along with the Catholic bishops, Church of Scotland moderator, unions, children's charities and the childrens' commissioner we have made the case for an immediate £5 top up to child benefit.

Ministers must now choose how, not if, to use new social security powers to help end child poverty. The longer they leave it the harder it gets for tens of thousand of families across the country, and the more costly it will be for us all to meet the government's targets."