The impact of UK Government policies on families in Scotland has been wholly negative, plunging hundreds of thousands into poverty.
The SNP Government had published its second Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan – Best Start, Bright Futures – which sets out immediate and longer term actions to support people out of poverty and to tackle its deep-seated causes.
Reversing key UK Government welfare reforms that have occurred since 2015 would bring an estimated 70,000 people out of poverty in Scotland, including 30,000 children, in 2023-24.
The total cost of reversing these reforms would be around £780 million per annum, including £50 million in increased expenditure on existing benefits provided by the SNP Government such as the Scottish Child Payment and Discretionary Housing Payments, as a result of increased eligibility for these benefits.
Reversing the reforms would increase disposable income for households with children in the lowest income decile by around 11%, and for households in poverty with children by 10%.
Reversing the removal of the £20 uplift, the benefit freeze, or the two-child limit and removal of the family element, in isolation, would bring around 10,000 children out of poverty: Of the reforms modelled, the most cost-effective way to reduce child poverty would be to reverse the two-child limit and the removal of the family element at a cost of £120 million.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“The SNP Government’s plan lays bare the cost of repeated UK Tory Government welfare reforms since 2015 and the challenge we face in lifting children and families across North Ayrshire and Scotland out of poverty for good.
“Last year alone, in mitigation the SNP Government spent £14.6 million in North Ayrshire to protect North Ayrshire households from vindictive Tory polices, including the bedroom tax. It has also invested almost £6 billion from 2018-21 to support low income households, including around £2.18 billion to directly support children.
“The fact remains however that as long as we are part of the UK we are tied to this Tory Government - and we won’t have the full powers required to truly meet the needs of those in Scotland.”
Welfare Reform - Impact on Families with Children report
Best Start, Bright Futures: tackling child poverty delivery plan 2022 to 2026