Investment of almost £1 billion to tackle child poverty in the last financial year has been welcomed by Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison MSP.
She has also pledged to bring forward “game changing” policies as she called for society to unite to eradicate child poverty in Scotland.
Ms Robison was speaking as she detailed the findings of the third progress report on Tackling Child Poverty, saying:
“The report highlights our investment in low income families with children continued to grow as we sought to offer support during the pandemic.
“Direct support to families with children rose to more than £978 million in 2020/21 – including £118 million in response to COVID-19.
“This was part of almost £2.5 billion invested to support low income households, including more than £434 million of COVID-related investment in social assistance.
“The report also shows that all 66 of the actions we have previously reported on are either in progress or being delivered.
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“The SNP Government has been working to tackle child poverty by addressing a spectrum of circumstances.
“For instance, it has provided £40 million to North Ayrshire Council and other local authorities to use flexibly to support people in financial hardship to meet essential needs including fuel; but it’s also launched its £15 million Scottish Community Lenders Fund to support affordable lending services including both Credit Unions and Community Development Finance Institutions.
“While the report shows much progress has been made over the past three years, it is crucial that the SNP Government continues to invest in its holistic approach to tackling poverty, which is exactly what it is continuing to do.”
Measures launched in the past 12 months include:
Scottish Child Payment for eligible children aged under six, with thousands of families already benefitting from an additional £40 every four weeks;
Investment of more than £56 million in the free school meal provision for low income families during school closures, periods of online learning and school holidays;
The distribution of Pandemic Support Payments, with £100 paid in spring and a further £100 being paid around the start of the summer holidays. This is part of a £520 package this year, benefitting around 145,000 children and young people from low income households.