‘Save child benefit’ demands CPAG in Scotland

March 7, 2012

New survey shows Scotland’s parents more likely to spend child benefit on clothes, food and nappies.

The poll suggests families in Scotland are more likely to spend child benefit on clothes, food and nappies than in the UK as a whole. Across the UK the report finds parents increasingly using child benefit to pay for essentials, and parents expressing anger and disbelief at current cuts to the benefit.

The top four main areas that parents of all social classes spend child benefit on are:

1. Clothes and shoes (Scotland parents 63%: UK average 51%)
2. Food (Scotland 31%; UK 26%)
3. Education related (Scotland 17%; UK16%)
4. Nappies/wipes/ baby products/ formula milk (Scotland 19%; UK 9%)

The report is published as CPAG launches a major new campaign to save universal child benefit and the UK government comes under increasing pressure to rethink plans to remove the popular benefit from higher rate taxpayers.

Commenting on the findings Head of CPAG in Scotland, John Dickie, said

“This timely new report shows just how popular and valuable child benefit is for all Scotland’s parents. Child Benefit is so effective because of it’s simplicity and the fact that the money is targeted at children. The controversy over plans to claw back child benefit from some better off families regardless of family size or overall income shows the massive problems and unfairness inherent in any tinkering with that simplicity.”

“If the UK government wants to target higher rate taxpayers it should do it through progressive taxation so that households without children share the burden”.

Mr. Dickie also called for a rethink of the current freeze of child benefit.

“It is vital that Coalition Ministers rethink the freeze on child benefit, a freeze that amounts to an effective cut of around 10%. It is shameful to make children pay for a deficit not of their making”

Notes for editors

  • For further details contact John Dickie, Head of CPAG in Scotland on 0141 552 3656 or 07795 340 618 or Tim Nichols, CPAG Press Officer on 020 7812 5216 or 07816 909302
  • The full ‘Save Child Benefit’ report is available here. The report includes quotes from families which can be used in any reporting.
  • Child Poverty Action Group’s campaign site can be found at www.savechildbenefit.org.uk and it provides further information on the problems with the government’s plans.
  • Over the course of a child’s lifetime, the removal of child benefit from higher rate taxpayers means a loss to the family of at least £19,000 for the first child and at least £12,500 for all subsequent children.
  • The freeze on child benefit will cost a two child family £286 a year by 2013/14
  • Up-to-date background facts and stats on poverty in Scotland here.
  • CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of child poverty in the UK and for a better deal for low-income families and children.
  • CPAG is the host organisation for the Campaign to End Child Poverty, which has over 150 member organisations and is campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goal of ending child poverty by 2020 is met.