SNP MP condemns UK Government’s record on child poverty

MP for Glasgow Central, Alison Thewliss, has denounced the UK Government’s record on child poverty, following the publication of a new report by the coalition charity, End Child Poverty.

The report, which was published today, lays bare the shocking disparity across the UK with respect to deprivation levels, and highlights the associated effects on families and children.

Sam Royston, Chair of End Child Poverty and Director of Policy and Research at the Children’s Society, noted that a child born in some areas of the UK is now more likely to grow up in poverty, than be part of a family living above the breadline. Indeed, End Child Poverty have called for an immediate cessation of the freeze on social security benefits, which has been in effect since 2016.

Commenting, Alison Thewliss MP said:

“The UK Government’s record on the issue of child poverty is appalling. This is a government who scrapped statutory income-based child poverty targets; clearly demonstrating how low down the issue is on their list of priorities.

“The benefit cap continues to squeeze those who rely most on support, and in Glasgow the statistics make for grim reading – there are 636 households, and over 1,936 children directly affected. Not only that, according to a report published by Sheffield Hallam University, support for claimants in Glasgow, as a result of post-2015 welfare reforms, is anticipated to fall by an average of £420 per year.

“Moreover, the UK Government’s two child limit ensures that Child Tax Credit claims – including the child element of Universal Credit – are restricted to the first two children in a family. This is tantamount to social engineering, and will mean a loss of up to £2,800 every year per child for countless families. This cut is so severe that the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) have estimated that it will plunge a further 200,000 children into poverty.

“The Scottish Government is doing what it can to stem the flow of Tory cuts; already it has mitigated the devastating effects of the Bedroom Tax through discretionary housing payments, and moved to ensure that a reduction in Council Tax Support was not passed on to claimants in Scotland. It is unsustainable however to expect the Scottish taxpayer to continue to bear the financial brunt of Tory malevolence.

“This austerity-obsessed government seems not to care about the plight of ordinary people, including the wellbeing of children. Brexit is on the horizon, bringing with it rising prices – the outlook is indeed bleak. Whilst the Scottish Government is committed to doing what it can to improve the situation, it requires full control over economic levers in order that child poverty can be properly addressed in a meaningful and responsible way”.

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