Child poverty campaigners respond to Expert Working Group on Welfare

4 June 2014
  • Report creates ‘opportunity for a far more positive approach to social security for families in and out of work – wherever powers lie’
  • However, new approach must go further and “be underpinned by a restoration of the value and universality of child benefit”
  • “No excuse for continuing to tolerate a social security system that leaves children languishing in poverty”

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland today responded to the publication of the Scottish Government’s Expert Working Group on Welfare.

The Head of CPAG in Scotland, John Dickie, said;

“Wherever welfare powers end up lying the Expert Working Group’s recommendations open up the opportunity for a far more positive approach to social security for families in and out of work. With current policies failing to protect one in five children from poverty, half of poor children living in working households and benefit cuts set to drive up to 100 000 more children into poverty by 2020 it couldn’t be clearer a new approach is needed.

The Expert Group’s focus on dignity and respect and its recommendations to scrap current sanctions and replace the failing Work Capability Assessment would be important steps in the right direction, as would re-establishing the link between benefit uprating and inflation.

However a new approach to social security needs to go further. If we are serious about ending child poverty it is vital that any new approach is underpinned by the restoration of the value and universality of child benefit. Furthermore wider benefit rates need to be reviewed toward ensuring they provide not just a ‘safety net’ but the minimum income needed to participate fully in society.

As the report makes clear Scotland is a wealthy country and current spending on social protection is low compared to other European nations. Whether responsibilities lie in London or Edinburgh there is no excuse for continuing to tolerate a social security system that leaves children languishing in poverty.”