“Bolder redistribution needed to help poorest families” says CPAG in Scotland in response to PBR

December 9, 2009

Commenting on today’s Pre-Budget Report the Head of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, John Dickie, said;

"We are pleased the Chancellor is introducing tax measures guided by fairness as a part of fiscal responsibility but much bolder redistribution is needed through the tax system. It is right to ask those with the broadest shoulders to bear most of the burden but the poorest families must get more support."

The Group also welcomed the announcement that free school meals will be extended to more pupils in England and called on the Scottish Government, which has already extended entitlement to more children in working families, to build on its own groundbreaking free school meals policy.

“In this time of economic hardship and pressure on resources the Scottish Government’s commitment to universal free school meals for all P1 to P3 pupils and to extending entitlement to more pupils of all ages is more important than ever.”

Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement that benefits will rise by 1.5% Mr. Dickie said;

‘While it’s right that benefits should be uprated when families are struggling, a 1.5% increase in the light of predicted increases in CPI inflation next year will still leave benefits well below the poverty line."

The child poverty campaigners also welcomed announcements on making work pay, but said much more was needed;

"Although the better off in work guarantee and investment in giving opportunities to young unemployed people are welcome, work must always provide a guaranteed route out of poverty. With 60% of children in poverty in working families, this guarantee is not sufficient to address in-work poverty.”

Notes for editors

  • Child Poverty Action Group will have a spokesman available to comment throughout the day.
  • Child Poverty Action Group’s manifesto, published in March 2009
  • For up-to-date background facts and stats on UK poverty, visit: www.cpag.org.uk/content/child-poverty-facts-and-figures
  • 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 one of over 150 member organisations of the Campaign to End Child Poverty, campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goals of halving child poverty by 2010 and ending child poverty by 2020 are met.

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

John Dickie, Head of CPAG in Scotland on 0141 552 3656 or 07795 340 618

www.cpag.org.uk/press/2009/091209.htm