New welfare payouts are to be introduced for the poorest families in Scotland using Holyrood’s recently acquired socila security powers as part of a national drive to tackle child poverty.
More cash will also made available to provide school clothing grants, along with £1 million to reverse the growing problem of many youngsters going hungry during school holidays.
But the plan has been branded “jam tomorrow” by opposition parties.
Child poverty is poised to soar in Scotland, with an extra 130,000 youngsters set to be affected by 2031.
Communities Secretary Angela Constance set out the Scottish Government’s plan to cut child poverty at Holyrood yesterday. The new welfare payments will be introduced over the lifetime of the 2018-22 plan “providing financial support to those families who need it most”.
She said: “We will now consider the detail of such a supplement, the level at which it should be set and those at whom it should be targeted in order to help lift the maximum number of children out of poverty.”
Investment of £12 million in employment support was also unveiled, along with a £7.5 million innovation fund has been set up in partnership with the Hunter Foundation to support new approaches to preventing and reducing child poverty.
A new minimum amount will be introduced for the school clothing grant, providing more money to help with the costs of school uniforms and sport kits.
Labour’s Elaine Smith added: “Whilst the Tories’ callous benefit cuts are of course plunging more children and working families into poverty the Scottish Government cant escape the responsibility after a decade in office.
“Unfortunately much of the statement seems to promise jam tomorrow.
Douglas Hamilton, chair of Scotland’s Poverty and Inequality Commission, said the new welfare payments and employment support is “encouraging.”