Immediate action needed as official figures show increase in child poverty in Scotland

March 16, 2017

• Child poverty up to 4 million across the UK

• Key driver is UK government cuts to family benefits, say campaigners

Campaigners today urged the Scottish Government to redouble its efforts and use all the powers at its disposal to boost family incomes as official figures revealed that over 1 in 4 children in Scotland are now living in poverty. (1) Across the UK, child poverty jumped to 4 million. (2)

The latest statistics show that 260,000 children (26%) are living in poverty in Scotland compared to 220,000 (22%) in the previous year.

Responding to figures John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said;

We cannot afford to lose sight of the tens of thousands of children across Scotland that lie behind these statistics and the devastating impact that poverty will too often have on their health, wellbeing and life chances.

These figures highlight just how important the Child Poverty Bill currently before the Scottish Parliament is. But legislation alone won’t end poverty and the Scottish Government must now act quickly to implement the kind of concrete, practical policies that would make a significant dent in these figures. The latest modelling suggests that using new powers to top-up child benefit by £5 a week would, for example, reduce child poverty in Scotland by up to 14%, lifting around 30,000 children out of poverty.” (3)

The main drivers behind rising child poverty are UK government cuts to financial support for families whether they are in or out of work, according to the campaign group.

Mr Dickie added;

“The UK Chancellor completely ignored the plight of low income families in Scotland and across the UK in last week’s Budget. Today’s statistics are a stark reminder why he needs to end the freeze on family benefits and reverse cuts to Universal Credit for working families if the UK government’s rhetoric on supporting “ordinary families” is to mean anything.”

ENDS

For more information please contact John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland (07795 340 618) or Hanna McCulloch, Policy and Parliamentary Officer (07951440393)

NOTES

(1) Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland: 2015/16, Thursday, March 16, 2017 http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Social-Welfare/IncomePovert...

(2) National Statistics: Households Below Average Income 2015/16 https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income...

(3) For more information see Antonia Keung and Jonathan Bradshaw, March 2016, Analysis of the Impact of Increases to Child Benefit and Child Tax Credits on Child Poverty Rates in the UK and Scotland https://pure.york.ac.uk/portal/files/47994120/Impact_of_CB_CTC_top_ups_o...