Higher Scottish children’s payment part of plans to tackle cost emergency – Sturgeon
Around 400,000 children will be eligible for increased anti-poverty benefits from November as Nicola Sturgeon sets out a series of cost-of-living actions in her program for the government.
The Scottish Child Payment is set to be increased to £25 per eligible child per week from November 14. The benefit will now also be open to all eligible under-16s.
Current payments of £20 a week currently help around 104,000 young people under the age of six.
The First Minister will explain how the Scottish Government will help households and businesses cope with the cost emergency which she says will “cost lives”.
Speaking ahead of her statement to Parliament on Tuesday on the government’s 2022/23 programme, Ms Sturgeon said the anti-poverty policy, which is not available anywhere else in the UK, is an important move to ” mitigate the growing cost urgency”.
The payment doubled to £20 in April, resulting in a 150% increase in less than eight months, she said.
“The Scottish Child Payment is unique in Scotland, the most ambitious child poverty reduction measure in the UK and an important action to alleviate the growing cost urgency,” she said.
She renewed her calls on the UK government to take urgent action, as most of the key policy levers and resources to deal with the crisis belong to Westminster.
Ms Sturgeon added: “Through this year’s program for the government, we will take all measures, within the limits of the financial means and legislative powers at our disposal, to help people through this humanitarian crisis which will cost lives.
“The most important powers to deal with this crisis belong entirely to the UK government and their inaction has compounded the difficulties that everyone is facing.
“In the absence of a plan from the new Prime Minister, we have set out a clear set of actions that the UK government could take now, and should have taken by now, to start tackling the crisis.
“These include an immediate rollback of the October price cap and increased benefits.
“The last few months have shown very clearly that Scotland cannot rely on the UK Government to support Scots during this crisis. It is vital that they have a choice about their future.
“Make no mistake, we will continue to act where others fail to help people and businesses – and the UK government must follow our lead.”
A UK government spokesperson said: ‘We know that rising prices are impacting people in Scotland and across the UK – that’s why we have already taken action to help households with a £37bn in aid throughout the year, which includes specific support to help people get through the tough winter ahead.
“Eight million of the most vulnerable households will get an extra £1,200 in aid, provided in installments throughout the year, and each will receive £400 over the winter to help pay their energy bills.
“This includes a record reduction in fuel tax and a reduction in National Insurance worth up to £330 a year for the typical employee.
“We have also provided the Scottish Government with a record £41billion settlement for the next three years and they have significant control over tax and benefits.”