‘No room for complacency’ as thousands of Aberdeenshire children live in poverty

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The research, covering the period up to 2020/21, provides the best available estimates of child poverty at local authority level, after accounting for housing costs.

It shows that 6749 children live in poverty in Aberdeenshire.

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Campaigners say the new data shows how important additional investment in the new Scottish Children’s Payment will be in supporting families through the cost of living crisis and advancing efforts to meet the goals of the Scotland on child poverty.

Over 6,000 children live in poverty across Aberdeenshire.

The payment was introduced from February 2021 for children under six when families are on Universal Credit.

Its value was doubled from £10 to £20 per week in April 2022 and it will increase to £25 per week when it rolls out to all eligible under-16s by the end of the year.

Transition payments for school-age children have not been doubled and the coalition is urging Scottish ministers to ‘act now to double transition payments before the Scottish Child Payment is fully rolled out’.

However, members of the End Child Poverty coalition in Scotland – including Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, Save the Children, Trussell Trust, Poverty Alliance, Oxfam Scotland, Close the Gap, Aberlour, Children 1st, Home-Start Scotland, Children in Scotland, Parenting across Scotland and One Parent Families Scotland – are also calling on the UK government to ensure UK benefits keep pace with inflation at all times, and not just through one-off measures announced by the Chancellor in May.

New research from Loughborough University, on behalf of the End Child Poverty coalition, shows that the overall child poverty rate in the UK has fallen in 2020/21, mainly due to the temporary £20 increase per week of universal credit brought in during the pandemic.

Scotland has lower levels of child poverty than England or Wales.

However, Scottish campaigners say that as long as progress is made, there can be no room for complacency if Scotland’s statutory child poverty targets, which have been agreed by all Holyrood parties, must be achieved.

The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act requires the Scottish Government to ensure that less than 18% of children live in poverty by 2023/24, on track to reach less than 10% by 2030.

The Scottish Commission on Poverty and Inequality recently warned that reaching the 2030 target will require “more transformational change” to tackle the drivers of poverty, including measures to reshape the economy.

Campaigners also point out that the independent review of care in Scotland, The Promise, was clear that “there must be a significant, ongoing and persistent commitment to ending poverty and mitigating its impacts on children, families and communities in Scotland”.

Boards and Local Health Boards are also required to publish annual Child Poverty Local Action Reports outlining local action taken to address child poverty.

End Child Poverty campaigners are urging newly elected councilors across Scotland to use local powers, including in economic development, housing and financial support, to maximize family incomes and reduce the costs parents face .

They say the Scottish government should also ensure that local authorities have the resources to effectively deliver local services that tackle child poverty.

They are also urging the Scottish Government to double the value of transition payments made in October and December to families with school-age children on the lowest incomes.

Bridging Payments were introduced as providing “the cash equivalent of the Scottish Children’s Payment” for eligible school-aged children until the full roll-out of the Scottish Children’s Payment itself.

However, they have not been doubled like the installment, despite the mounting pressure the cost of living crisis is putting on family finances.

Speaking on behalf of members of End Child Poverty, Ed Pybus, from the action group Child Poverty Scotland, responded to the new figures.

He said: ‘The figures show how big a difference investing in social security can make and how important the Scottish Government’s new Scottish Child Payment is and will continue to be if Scotland is to end the scandal of children living in poverty.

“Progress is being made but, as low-income families struggling to cope with soaring prices know very well, there is no room for complacency, and we need every level of government to do so. its part if we are to meet Scotland’s child poverty targets.

The UK government must now commit to continued increases in UK family benefits.

Mr Pybus continued: “Here in Scotland, we are urging newly elected councilors to use all the tools at their disposal to increase family incomes and reduce the costs families face.

“This means using local authorities to provide more cash support to families, supporting decent jobs – especially for women and people with disabilities, and improving access to high-quality, free childcare. and accessible.

“Finally, the Scottish Government should act now to double transition payments ahead of the full roll-out of the Scottish Children’s Payment to ensure that school-aged children receive the same support as those under six who are already on the payment. .”

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