Child benefit increase could raise 30,000 out of poverty

Child coins

​Raising child benefit amount could life thousands out of poverty charity claims 

8th April 2016 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

An anti-poverty charity has called on the next Scottish Government to increase child benefit by £5 a week.

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) made the call in a manifesto document published this week and ahead of the Scottish Parliament election on 5 May.

Campaigners point out the new parliament will be confronted with an imminent rise in child poverty, with a projected 50% increase by 2020 largely driven by UK tax and benefit policy. Child benefit alone is set to lose 28% of its value by the end of the decade according to the group.

In the face of this looming crisis CPAG is calling on the next Scottish Government to use new social security powers to invest an extra £5 a week in child benefit. The campaigners say this policy alone could reduce child poverty in Scotland by a substantial 14%, lifting 30,000 children out of poverty.

CPAG’s programme for government also sets out a range of measures aimed at prioritising the eradication of child poverty in Scotland and minimising its damaging effects on children, families, services and the country’s economy.

£5 a week per child could help thousands of families avoid a visit to the food bank

The charity calls for a strong, public commitment to ending child poverty by introduction of a Child Poverty Act for Scotland; the removal of the financial barriers that prevent children from achieving their goals; the end of foodbank use in Scotland; and to ensure work pays for in-work families.

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 foodbank. 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%, improving the prospects of thousands of Scotland’s children.”

Topping up child benefit by £5 per week per child will cost an estimated £256 million in Scotland a year.