News

Kids can’t wait for new income supplement, civil society tells First Minister

Section: Policy into PracticeType: News Item Date Published: 24th June 2019

70 leaders from across Scotland society have called for the introduction of a new income supplement to tackle child poverty.

Poverty campaigners, faith leaders, academics, children’s charities, trade unions, women’s groups and industry bodies have today written a joint letter to the First Minister (this link will take you away from our website) pushing for the government to commit to bringing forward the supplement because “kids can’t wait”.

The Scottish Government is set to update Parliament on its plans to introduce an income supplement to top up the earnings of parents on low incomes in a statement to MSPs on Wednesday.

70 leaders and organisations from across Scottish society have joined together to call on the First Minister to speed up the introduction of a new income supplement to tackle child poverty.

The supplement is currently not due to be introduced until 2022, but campaigners say that is too far away for families living in poverty, and want to see legislation included in the next Programme for Government and an interim version to be delivered ahead of legislation being passed.

Research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Institute for Public Policy Research Scotland has found that the equivalent of one classroom of children a day – a school a month – are being pulled into poverty in Scotland. The Scottish Government’s own forecasts suggest that without action, the child poverty rate will rise to 35 per cent by 2020/21. This will mean that ministers will fail to meet targets set in the Child Poverty Act unless more urgent and ambitious action is taken.

240,000 children live in poverty in Scotland and campaigners say that they should not be forced to wait until 2022 for the valuable lifeline that the income supplement can provide.

CEO of Aberlour, SallyAnn Kelly said:

“The income supplement has been a welcome commitment from the Scottish Government, but waiting until 2022 is too late for many families who are struggling now and the 240,000 children living in poverty. Working with families across Scotland every day we see how many of them are at risk of falling deeper into financial hardship and being exposed to the worst effects of poverty and related toxic stress. The Scottish Government must use the powers available to them before it’s too late, to make a lasting difference to each and every one of those children and to prevent against adversity and resulting trauma. The biggest single thing that we can do to lift families out of poverty is to put money in the pockets of parents and ensure they can live a life where they are able to support themselves and their children to flourish.”

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, said:

“Too many families are stuck in the grip of poverty, struggling to pay bills and put food on the table. The income supplement can provide an anchor to help families stay afloat, but 2022 is simply too far away and kids can’t wait. With the equivalent of one classroom of children a day being pulled into poverty in Scotland, we need to act now. If the First Minister is serious about a Scotland where every child really does have every chance, then the Scottish Government must commit to bringing forward the Income Supplement this week”.

Commenting on the letter, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, Bruce Adamson said:

“Addressing child poverty must be a priority and pressing issue for the Scottish Government, and while its commitment to introducing the income supplement is welcome, the 2022 date does not help alleviate the financial strain families face now.”

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