MSP welcomes investment in families and supports calls for UK government to reverse damaging welfare reforms.

Record investment of almost £8.5 billion was committed to support low income households between 2018-22, with almost £3.3 billion benefitting children.

The fourth annual progress report on child poverty, published 29 June, shows that all of the actions committed as part of the first Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, Every Child, Every Chance, have been delivered.

The plan focused on three drivers of child poverty reduction – work and earnings, social security and household costs – and on the six priority family types at greatest risk of poverty, including lone parent families and families with a disabled adult or child.

Key achievements over the life of the plan (2018-22) include:

  • introduction of the Scottish Child Payment, with more than 1.2 million payments between February 2021 and March 2022 – a £58.6 million investment
  • increase in the number of real Living Wage accredited employers, with the proportion of people earning the real Living Wage or more rising from 80.6% in 2018 to 85.6% in 2021
  • increase in the funded hours for Early Learning and Childcare from 600 hours in 2018 to 1,140 hours in August 2021, saving families up to £4,900 per eligible child in 2021
  • delivery of 35,095 affordable homes, 25,562 of which were for social rent – supporting an estimated 11,585 households with children into affordable housing between 2018-22
  • extension of concessionary travel to all under 22s, with approximately 930,000 young people eligible for support – saving families up to £3,000 by the time their child turns 18
  • expansion of universal free school meals to children in primaries 4 and 5, saving families around £400 per child and increasing School Clothing Grant to at least £120 for eligible primary school children and £150 for those in secondary school in 2021

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said:

“Over the last four years, we have strengthened the foundations of support for children and families and used our powers to support those most in need, particularly with the introduction of our new social security system.

“We are now supporting low income households, carers and helping disabled people lead independent lives through 12 benefits, seven of which are entirely new and not available anywhere else in the UK.

“We have made progress despite significant challenges. The pandemic and the continued impact of UK Government welfare reforms has disproportionately impacted the most disadvantaged and been severe.”

Ruth Maguire MSP said:

“Action from the Scottish Government to tackle child poverty, supports families and puts money in the pockets of those who most need it, money which is in turn spent locally supporting our local economy.

“As the cost of living crisis unfolds it is more important than ever that families and individuals are accessing all the support they are entitled too from both the UK and Scottish Government.  I welcome the Scottish Government’s further work to encourage benefit take up and echo their call for the UK government to reverse the two child cap and re instate the £20 Universal Credit uplift.”

Notes:

Tackling child poverty delivery plan: fourth year progress report 2021 to 2022