Politicians planning to stand in the upcoming Holyrood elections are being urged to take action to help tackle key issues relating to poverty among families across Scotland.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has warned that targets for reducing child poverty rates in Scotland are in danger of being missed in the next few years unless decisive action is taken by parliamentarians in Edinburgh.
Chris Birt from the foundation has called for “bold commitments” from Scottish politicians on the issue of poverty and for SMPs to work collectively to “free childhoods from the damaging pressures of growing up in hardship”.
According to the JRF, there are around one million Scots currently living in poverty and almost a quarter of them are children.
Roughly one in four children in Scotland grow up in poverty and politicians across parties recently committed to a target of seeing that proportion brought down to below one in 10 by 2030.
Among the actions that Mr Birt from the JRF wants to see taken is a maintenance of the recently introduced £20 uplift in Universal Credit.
In reference to that uplift, Mr Birt wrote in a recent blog: “It is of course vital to people across Scotland and the UK that the £20 lifeline is maintained, but if it is not, it is still incumbent on the incoming Scottish Government to meet the targets the Scottish Parliament has set for it.
“While the responsibility for cutting hundreds of millions of pounds from social security will lie with the UK Government, people in poverty in Scotland will need the Scottish Government to step up.”
Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) recently called on the chancellor Rishi Sunak to make the £20 Universal Credit uplift a permanent feature of the UK’s benefit system.
According to the CAS, the number of Scots claiming Universal Credit has increased by more than 81 per cent since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If the Chancellor is committed helping people survive the economic crisis, the case is simple,” David Scott from CAS wrote in an article recently published in the Herald.
“He must use the Budget to cancel the cut, make the £20 increase permanent, and ensure that everyone can take part in the UK’s recovery.”
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The Scottish government has committed to spending £64 million next year to help people in all parts of the country reduce their energy bills.
Ministers of the UK government have committed to phasing out the £20 uplift in the regular payments made via the Universal Credit system.
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