Johnstone welcomes launch of campaign for £5 a week top-up of Child Benefit
Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (30 Aug) welcomed the launch of the Give Me Five campaign, which calls for a £5 a week top-up of Child Benefit to lift 30,000 children out of poverty.
A top-up was called for in the Scottish Greens' 2016 Holyrood election manifesto, and has been a consistent priority from Alison Johnstone.
In June, Alison successfully amended the Scottish Government's proposed Child Poverty Bill so that ministers have to say whether they will use devolved powers to top-up child benefit. The amendment was unsuccessfully opposed by SNP MSPs on the Social Security Committee.
Alison Johnstone MSP said:
"Support for topping up Child Benefit to reduce poverty is growing, and the launch of this campaign is hugely welcome. It's an issue Greens have been championing since last year, and we've kept up the pressure in spite of SNP resistance.
"Child poverty will undoubtedly rise because of unfair UK Government policies, and while we continue to oppose Tory cuts, we also see the need to use devolved powers right now to make Scotland fairer. The Scottish Government should look again at a Child Benefit top-up.
“Topping-up Child Benefit is vital to replacing the income some of our poorest families have lost. Between 2010 and 2020, for example, UK Government changes mean that Child Benefit is projected to lose 28 per cent of its value, and it is essential we use devolved powers to counter this. Means-tested benefits are often complicated for families to access and tend to have lower take-up rates. At over 95 per cent, Child Benefit has one of the highest take-ups of any benefit, so we know any increase will be claimed by those who need it most.”