Supporting Low Income Households
Almost £6 billion has been invested to support low income households across Scotland over the last three years.
More than a third of that total, around £2.18 billion, has directly benefitted children as the Scottish Government prepares to publish its Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan for 2022-2026.
On Thursday (24 March), Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison will update Parliament on the national mission to break the cycle of poverty for thousands of families.
The Delivery Plan for 2022-26 builds on the work of ‘Every Child, Every Chance’, published in 2018. It introduced a range of new supports through Social Security Scotland, including the Scottish Child Payment and Best Start Grants as well as employability services such as Fair Start Scotland.
The recent ‘Cost of a Child in Scotland’ report from the Child Poverty Action Group also highlighted the impact of Scottish Government support for families, compared to the rest of the UK. It estimated Scottish Government policies will reduce the net cost of bringing up a child by 31 per cent, almost £24,000, once the Scottish Child Payment is doubled and the expansion of free school meals is delivered.
The Scottish Government is also supporting families with the rising cost of living through its £41 million Winter Support Fund and £290 million package of measures, including £150 for all households in receipt of Council Tax Reduction and those in Council Tax bands A-D. Last week, benefits rises of 6 per cent were announced to help with cost of living pressures and devolved employment support programmes are key to delivering fair work and pay.
Furthermore, Scotland has led the way with affordable housing across the UK – delivering 105,755 affordable homes since 2007, over 73,000 of which were for social rent. The Scottish Government is committed to delivering 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, of which at least 70% will be available for social rent.
I look forward to the key announcement of the new Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan this week – the next major step in this Scottish Government’s commitment to ending child poverty altogether in Scotland.
This commitment is evident from the financial investment made over the past years to support struggling families out of poverty here in Angus and across Scotland, in the face of UK Government policies dragging people in the opposite direction.
It should be pretty clear that low income households are better served by this Scottish Government that they would be in other parts of the UK, but the commitment remains to go further and do everything within devolved powers to make progress.
Almost £6 billion has been invested to support low income households in Scotland over the last three years, with more than a third directly benefitting children.
Find out how we're supporting families in advance of our Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2022-2026 ⬇ pic.twitter.com/cxsM5y4S8e
— Scot Gov Fairer (@ScotGovFairer) March 22, 2022
– Social Justice Secretary, Shona Robison
In the face of UK government austerity, combined with the deeply damaging £20 cut to Universal Credit, our investment over the last four years to support low income families has had a significant impact. But there is still more we must do to deliver the transformational changes we all want to see.
Our second Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan will be a plan for all of Scotland. All parts of society have a role to play in our national mission to end child poverty. This is a collective effort across society to deliver for our future generations and break the cycle of poverty once and for all.
Our ambitious measures are already delivering considerable support to children and families compared with other parts of the UK – for example, through free childcare and employment support, maximising incomes and affordable housing and, of course, social security.
We remain the only part of the UK to have five family benefits, including the Scottish Child Payment, which was designed to tackle child poverty head on. Combined with our three Best Start Grants and Best Start Foods, low income families receive up to £8,400 of financial support by the time their first child turns six.
Our budgets may be fixed, powers limited, and the scale of the challenge as we emerge from the pandemic has increased. However, we are determined to do everything within our powers to give the children of Scotland the opportunities they deserve to succeed.
The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 set four ambitious income-based child poverty targets to be met by 2030/31, with interim targets set for 2023/24.
A breakdown of the investment across the first three years (2018-21) of Every Child, Every Chance, the Scottish Government’s first Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, is set out below with links to further detail:
- 2018-19: £1.412 billion to support low income households, of which over £527 million directly benefitted low income families with children – set out in Tackling Child Poverty: First Year Progress Report (2018-19)
- 2019-20: £1.966 billion to support low income households, of which £672 million directly benefitted low income families with children – set out in Tackling Child Poverty: Second Year Progress Report (2019-20)
- 2020-21: £2.499 billion to support low income households, of which £978 million directly benefitted low income families with children – set out in Tackling Child Poverty: Third Year Progress Report (2020-21)
Estimates of spend in relation to 2021-22 will be published as part of the Fourth Year Progress Report by the end of June 2022.
The Scottish Child Payment will double to £20 per week from April – four times more than campaigners originally asked for. The Scottish Government is providing immediate support to over 144,000 school-age children through Bridging Payments. They are worth £520 this year, ahead of the extension of the Scottish Child Payment to under 16s by the end of the year.