Mon 24 Feb, 2020

If we are to meet legal targets to drastically reduce child poverty, we must ensure that all support aimed at our poorest families gets where it needs to go Alison Johnstone

Scottish Green research can reveal that over 100,000 poor Scots families may not get access to money aimed at reducing child poverty.

The Scottish Fiscal Commission estimates a 74% take-up of the Scottish Child Payment in 2024/5.

This is lower than the Scottish Government’s estimate of 83% and also than the take-up of Child Benefit, which stands at 93%. Topping up Child Benefit is the Scottish Green Party’s preferred method of boosting the incomes of poorer families.

The Scottish Fiscal Commission estimates that that the 74% figure represents 287,000 children, well less than the 389,000 children the Commission estimates will be eligible. That would mean around 100,000 families would miss out in 2024/5.

This figure doesn’t take into account families who could be eligible, but are not, because they don’t claim the UK benefits needed to qualify [5].

Scottish Green Social Security Spokesperson Alison Johnstone said:

“It is concerning that support aimed at Scotland’s children might not get to as many as 100,000 of them.

“If we are to meet legal targets to drastically reduce child poverty, we must ensure that all support aimed at our poorest families gets where it needs to go.

“The Scottish Government have ambitious targets for reducing child poverty, but to meet them families need to get what they are entitled to. Ministers must explain why it looks like so many families may miss out on much needed support, and put in place a plan to quickly increase awareness and take-up of the payment.”

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