Scottish debt help charity welcomes the doubling of the Scottish Child Payment in the Scottish Budget.
Child poverty is rising in every local authority in Scotland. Even before the pandemic, one in four children in Scotland were growing up in poverty and food bank use has increased by 63% over the last five years. The pandemic has made things even more difficult for those already struggling as it has disproportionately impacted people living on low incomes.
CAP Scotland National Director, Emma Jackson, says, “We are delighted to hear about the Scottish Government’s commitment to double the Scottish Child Payment for families with children under the age of six. This is the single most impactful action that will take us four percentage points closer to reaching our interim child poverty targets and signals that ending child poverty will be a defining priority for Scotland. It is encouraging to see Scotland leading the way with this unique payment for families.
“This additional income will make a significant difference for the families we work with at Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Scotland. Families like Holly’s, who experienced problem debt after an overnight reduction in hours at work. Coupled with ill health and the challenges of being a single parent, debt began to deeply impact all aspects of Holly’s life. Through working with CAP Scotland, Holly was able to access the right debt solution for her and begin a debt free fresh start. The additional £40 per month will mean not having to worry as much about keeping her home warm for her and her son or buying him more food.
“Yet the very real challenges of making a low income stretch far enough to meet essential living costs remains. We welcome the news of free bus travel for those under the age of 22, the extension of free school meals to older age groups and the accelerated roll out of the Scottish Child Payment to include all children under the age of 16 by the end of next year. However, we would urge the Scottish Government to do all it can to bring the roll out of the Scottish Child Payment forward.
“With the rising cost of living and the end to the Universal Credit uplift, many families are facing a significant struggle this winter. We’re concerned that even more people will be pushed into poverty. We are keen to hold the Scottish Government to their commitment that “we can’t leave anyone behind”. The announcements in today’s budget leave a risk that key groups could experience further hardship. For too many households we work with at CAP, like single adult households, there is insufficient income to cover everyday essentials — rent, food, fuel, toiletries — and borrowing money is often a necessity to survive. No one should be forced into
problem debt in order to survive.”