Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton, has said that the COVID-19 pandemic has raised child poverty in Scotland to the level of a humanitarian crisis which requires urgent action from both the Scottish and UK governments.
This follows new research from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which shows that 230,000 children are currently living in poverty in Scotland.
The Aberlour Child Care Trust has also recorded a huge 1000% increase in demand for its urgent assistance programme for child poverty during the pandemic.
Jackie Baillie has called the UK Chancellor’s budget revisions, which will see hundreds of thousands of people at risk of losing the £20-a-week boost to Universal Credit, unacceptable. She is calling on the Scottish Government to ensure that people in financial difficulty are able to access the support that they need.
In particular, Jackie Baillie has called for the Scottish Government to increase the funds that are available through the Scottish Welfare Fund.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“Child poverty rates in Scotland are unacceptably high, and the pandemic has threatened to turn the situation into a humanitarian crisis.
“There are pockets of extreme poverty and hundreds of thousands of children are living in poverty every day across Scotland. This requires robust and immediate action.
“It is vital that the SNP government does all it can to support and strengthen the Scottish Welfare Fund during this crisis – we must not allow any more families to fall through the cracks. The Chancellor and the UK government must rethink their ill-thought out plans to cut the much needed Universal Credit boost.
“All weekend we have heard the SNP pontificate about a post-independence land of milk and honey, but they have spent a decade failing to use the levers at their disposal to tackle child poverty. Their record in office over the last decade has been one of abysmal failure – the fact that Scotland is not on course to meet its interim child poverty targets within three years is indicative of that.”