7 July, 2017 - 10:00

With new devolved social security powers, Scotland can boost the incomes of families that are struggling, for example by topping up Child Benefit by £5 a week which would lift 30,000 children out of poverty. Alison Johnstone MSP

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security and Children spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (7 July) said a membership survey by the EIS teaching union into the impact of poverty in education "underlines the need to tackle the root causes."

The survey found:
-Almost 60% of those who engaged with the survey indicated they had seen an increase in the number of children attending their schools who are experiencing poverty. 
-More than 50% reported an increase in the number of children coming to school without snacks or money for the tuck shop. 
-More than three quarters perceive that poverty is impacting negatively on children’s and young people’s mental health.
-72% report an increase in the number of children coming to school without stationery, school bags and PE kits. 
-46% said that they had seen an increase in the number of pupils unable to complete homework that required ICT access at home. 
 
Alison Johnstone MSP said:
 
“This survey underlines the need to tackle the root causes of poverty, which as well as damaging children's physical and mental health, is clearly harming their ability to learn. It’s appalling that so many children arrive in school underfed, and without basic equipment. 

"With new devolved social security powers, Scotland can boost the incomes of families that are struggling, for example by topping up Child Benefit by £5 a week which would lift 30,000 children out of poverty. The Scottish Green Party and organisations including the Child Poverty Action Group are calling for this long overdue uprating of Child Benefit, which has been frozen for years.
 
“Green MSPs have consistently argued that the Scottish Government’s school governance reforms are a distraction from the real issue of lack of staff and resources, and that’s why we negotiated an extra £160million for councils to invest in local services this year. My amendments to the Child Poverty Bill will force the Scottish Government to say whether it will use new powers to boost incomes. 

"Green MSPs are determined to give every child an equal chance of a good start in life.”

 

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