Topping up Child Benefit would show how serious we are about social justice

Scottish Green MSPs, pushing for anti-poverty measures in the draft Scottish budget due to published this week, today (11 Dec) called on Scottish Ministers to consider a £5 a week top-up of Child Benefit to help the estimated 220,000 Scottish children who face a Christmas in poverty.

Newly-devolved social security powers give the Scottish Government the ability to top-up reserved benefits, with analysis for the Child Poverty Action Group showing that a £5 a week boost to Child Benefit would reduce child poverty by 14 per cent, lifting up to 30,000 children out of poverty.

On Thursday, the Finance Secretary will publish the Scottish Government's draft budget for 2017-18, and Green MSPs have made clear their desire to see a budget that uses new income tax and social security powers to reduce inequality.

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said:
"Almost a quarter of a million Scottish children face spending this Christmas in poverty. The Scottish Government has an opportunity to give families hope in 2017 by using the new powers over income tax and social security.

"It's a worry that the Scottish Government's consultation on social security neglected to mention the ability to top-up reserved benefits, such as Child Benefit. Greens were elected to make Holyrood bolder, and by pushing for an anti-poverty budget we are bringing constructive pressure to bear.

"Topping up Child Benefit would show how serious we are about social justice. We have the resources needed if we use our income tax powers. When it comes to tackling poverty, it's time we turned words into action."


Scottish Greens social security consultation submission

University of York Social Policy Research Unit estimates cost of adding £5 a week to Child Benefit in Scotland would be £256 million per year