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Social Justice

Low-income families in Scotland to receive £20 per week from April

Weeks after Boris Johnson cut universal credit, Nicola Sturgeon announced her government would double the Scottish Child Payment to £20.

Campaigners in Scotland are celebrating a hard-fought win after Nicola Sturgeon confirmed she would double the lifeline cash given to families in poverty.

The Scottish Child Payment (SCP) is worth £10 a week to around 100,000 children in low-income families and is currently given to kids younger than six. It is due to be rolled out to under-16s by the end of next year.

And after intense pressure, the Holyrood government caved to activists’ calls to double the payments to £20 per week starting in April.

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While the new payments will go some way to countering Boris Johnson’s £20-per-week universal credit cut made just weeks ago, families in the rest of the UK are still struggling to make ends meet after losing £1,040 from their annual incomes.

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said the doubled SCP would “loosen the grip of poverty on the lives of thousands of children”.

“We are delighted that the Scottish Government has listened and acted.”

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The first minister’s announcement at the SNP conference was the “right and just thing to do, and will help keep people float amid the rising tide of poverty that’s sweeping across the country,” Kelly added.

Increasing the Scottish Child Payment is a forward step in the Scottish government’s mission to hit ambitious child poverty targets by 2024, experts said, when it is mandated that fewer than 18 per cent of children should live below the breadline. But more work must be done if the government is to avoid missing that target by thousands of young people.

is a “real lifeline” for families in Scotland who are “facing a perfect storm of financial insecurity as the UK cut to universal credit bites, energy prices soar and the wider costs of living rise,” said John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland.

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“We know that behind these statistics lie tens of thousands of families who are having to make impossible choices between paying the bills, putting food on the table or getting into debt.”

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