Spending Review “profoundly unfair” on Scotland’s families, say child poverty campaigners

October 20, 2010

Commenting on today’s spending review John Dickie, head of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said;

“This is a short-sighted and profoundly unfair spending review that will almost certainly increase, rather than reduce, child poverty. You cant rip £18 billion out of the welfare budget, cutting support to families in and out of work, without hurting our poorest children.

“A genuinely fair spending review would not have relied so heavily on spending cuts. Closing the tax gap and cracking down on tax cheats would save more than enough to make it unnecessary to cut family benefits.

“The scale of the attack on family budgets makes it even more vital that the Scottish Government ensures that it’s spending decisions protect and support children and families on low incomes. That means increasing investment in early years education and childcare, ensuring welfare rights advice and information is available to all families and building on its commitment to a Living Wage.”

On additional welfare changes

“The additional £560 million funding for the child element of tax credits is welcome but represents only one-fifth of the £2.5 billion savings in Child Benefit and for many families this gain will be a small consolation and be dwarfed by much bigger cuts to working tax credit, housing benefit, out-of-work benefits and disability benefits, totaling £18 billion.

“The Employment & Support Allowance change is especially worrying and unfair. People who have paid their national insurance contributions for many years are now being told that if they cannot work due to illness or an accident they may lose their benefit after a year.”

Help with childcare costs

“Given the Prime Minister’s commitments to being the most family-friendly country in Europe and to helping parents get into work, the reduction in help with childcare costs in tax credits is counter-productive and makes it harder for families with children get into work and make work pay.”

On Child Benefit

“We’re pleased that there are no new proposals today to restrict Child Benefit further but disappointed that the controversial plans to undermine universal Child Benefit are still on the table. This simple to understand and administer benefit has been incredibly effective at reaching the poorest children and helping to prevent poverty precisely because of recent investments in its value and its universal nature.“

Notes for editors

For further information please contact:

John Dickie, Head of CPAG in Scotland, on 0141 552 3656 or 07795 340 61802

  • Child Poverty Action Group’s manifesto was published in March 2009.
  • 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.