A group of religious leaders have called for the Scottish government to double the amounts it pays to low income families to help them support their children.
The faith leaders have said there is a clear moral case for raising the value of the newly-introduced Scottish Child Payments from £10 per week to £20 per week during the current financial year.
A joint statement from the group of religious representatives has insisted that the extent and severity of poverty in communities across Scotland “goes against everything we stand for as a society”.
The Scottish government has indicated that it intends to double the payments for children whose households have low incomes within the next five years but campaigners are adamant that the change needs to come much sooner.
Signatories of the joint statement released on the subject include representatives from the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Catholic Bishops Conference, the Muslim Council of Scotland, Sikhs in Scotland, and leaders of the Jewish and Hindu communities in Scotland.
The Scottish Child Payments are a benefit given to families with low incomes caring for children under the age of five, with plans in place to see the scheme extended to incorporate payments for children up to the age of 16 by 2022.
Shona Robison, cabinet secretary for social justice with the Scottish government, has said: “Tackling child poverty is a national mission for this government and I am proud that we are already supporting over one hundred thousand children through this brand new benefit.
“The Scottish Child Payment is unparalleled across the UK and unique in being a benefit to tackle child poverty head on.”
She added that the payments are due to be doubled to £20 per week “within the lifetime of the parliament” but campaigners are insisting that families struggling to make ends meet across Scotland should see their payments increased immediately.
“We have the means to help and there has been support expressed across the political spectrum. Surely there must now be the will to carry this through,” said Jim Wallace from the Church of Scotland.
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