Publised date : 25 Mar 2022

Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, has welcomed the latest package of measures announced by the Scottish Government to provide immediate support and break the cycle of child poverty for people across Perth and Kinross.

Shona Robison, the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, announced an increase of a further £5 to the 'game-changing' Scottish Child Payment - bringing the total payment to £25 per week per child at the end of the year, following the doubling of the payment to £20 next week.

This move will see the SNP Government’s package of five family benefits for low income families, including the increased Scottish Child Payment, now totalling over £10,000 to low income families by the time a first child turns six, and £9,700 for subsequent children.

The increase to the Scottish Child Payment will directly benefit 2,525 children in Perth and Kinross already in receipt of the payment.

In contrast, families in England and Wales receive less that £1,800 for the first child and under £1,300 for subsequent children.

The SNP Cabinet Secretary also announced: 

·         an increase in employment services with the aim of supporting up to 12,000 parents into fair and sustainable work, backed by investment of up to £81 million in 2022-23

·         investment of up to £15 million in a new fund to tackle the financial barriers parents face when they enter the labour market

·         immediate steps to mitigate the Tories’ Benefit Cap, which is impacting many families already struggling to make ends meet, backed by up to £10m 

It is estimated that, through these and current Scottish Government actions, 60,000 fewer children will be living in relative poverty in 2023/24 compared with 2017.

Commenting, Mr Swinney said:

"Today's package of measures to tackle child poverty is hugely welcome and the impact it will have on households in Perth and Kinross cannot be underestimated - increasing the Scottish Child Payment even further, to £25 per week per child, will make such a difference to families struggling to cope with the Tory cost of living crisis right now.

"This stands in stark contrast to the Tory Chancellor’s spring statement which utterly failed to provide any meaningful support for people in Perth and Kinross who are facing soaring energy bills and a cost of living crisis now - and that was a political choice.

"I am glad that families across Perth and Kinross have an SNP Scottish Government taking serious, life-changing action to protect them where it can within limited powers and a fixed budget. The significant parental employment package also announced will help people across the region into fair and sustainable work.

"Other political parties must now recognise the reality that whilst the SNP is doing what it can to put money in people’s pockets and tackle poverty, Westminster is consistently undermining Scotland’s efforts through their damaging policy agenda.

"These actions from the Scottish Government make it crystal clear that Perth and Kinross, and the people that live here, would be better off with independence and all the levers to tackle poverty and hardship.”

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