There has been a sharp rise in the number of families in Scotland claiming Universal Credit in the months since the Covid-19 crisis began.
According to the latest figures, an extra 30,000 families with children in Scotland have turned to Universal Credit as a means of getting by since March of this year.
Significant numbers of people have been losing their jobs or seeing their incomes drop dramatically since the onset of the virus crisis and it is pushing a great many families into financial difficulties and hardship.
Across the UK, close to 125,000 families are now known to be claiming Universal Credit, with families with children among those most likely to have started claiming in recent months.
But while claiming benefits offers some financial support to people in difficult situations, many still find themselves struggling to cover the costs of even their most essential outgoings.
According to research carried out by the charity Save the Children and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) in May and June, around 70 per cent of parents in Scotland who claim Universal Credit or Child Tax Credits couldn’t cover their most basic costs.
For a lot of people in all parts of Scotland that has meant not having enough money to buy food or going into debt just to get by.
Save the Children is concerned that the pandemic will soon lead to a major child poverty crisis in Scotland unless action can be taken to prevent that from happening.
“For families reliant on Universal Credit, every day can be a struggle to keep your head above water,” said Claire Telfer, head of Scotland for Save the Children.
“The huge rise in families with children now dependent on UC highlights how acutely this crisis is being felt by many.
“Urgent action must be taken at both UK and Scotland level to provide direct, financial support to families.”
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