Scottish Budget should target family incomes and tackling child poverty


The Scottish Government must use its budget to stabilise the income of parents to help it reach its child poverty targets, according to a letter issued today by the Scottish Parliament’s Social Justice and Social Security Committee.

The Committee has shared its unanimously agreed key priorities for the 2022-2023 Scottish Budget, which focus on tackling child poverty.

Stabilising parental income, the Committee believes, would help families who are facing reductions in household incomes as prices rise and COVID-19 support measures, such as the £20 universal credit uplift, are withdrawn by the UK Government.

The Committee’s letter to Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, highlights three aspects to doing this:

• doubling the Scottish Child Payment as soon as possible
• improving access to childcare
• providing further employment support

Speaking as the letter was released, the Committee’s Convener, Neil Gray MSP, said:

“The importance of helping parents with their finances was a key theme of the evidence the Committee heard.

“While there has been a massive expansion in free childcare provision by the Scottish Government we want to see further expansion prioritised in this budget. We are particularly aware that women and people with disabilities face challenges finding good employment opportunities and suitable childcare.

“We are pleased that the Scottish Government has stated that it would like to address some of these issues. However, given the urgency for some families with the withdrawal of the Universal Credit Uplift, we would like them to outline their plans in detail in this year’s budget.”

The Committee heard a lot of support for the doubling of the Scottish Child Payment as soon as possible. Organisations who gave evidence to the Committee explained that this would play a critical role in helping the Scottish Government work towards its child poverty targets.

Improved childcare support which will help people get into work, is also highlighted in the Committee’s letter. While giving evidence, One Parent Family Scotland relayed a quote from a parent which summarised the difficulties working parents face:

“Childcare costs are crippling — I earn what I always considered to be a reasonable salary, but it costs more than I earn to send my two children to nursery for only 3 days a week.”

The Committee also raised concerns around the sustainability of anti-poverty measures and social security budget in the long-term. In the letter, it calls on Government departments to work together to reduce the potential long-term demands on the social security budget.


The full letter is attached under embargo until Monday 1 November.

The exchange from One Parent Family Scotland can be found in the Parliament’s Official Report for Social Justice and Social Security Committee on 7 October 2021, at Column 12

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