Scottish Child Payment (Uptake)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 14 March 2024.

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Photo of Marie McNair Marie McNair Scottish National Party

1. To ask the Scottish Government what it is doing to promote the uptake of the Scottish child payment. (S6O-03198)

Photo of Shirley-Anne Somerville Shirley-Anne Somerville Scottish National Party

O ur game-changing Scottish child payment is putting money into the pockets of the families of more than 327,000 children, with £573 million having been paid since launch. We are encouraged to see the latest estimates of take-up rates, which show that take-up for all children aged under 16 at the end of March 2023 was 83 per cent. However, we know that there is always more that we can do. Social Security Scotland continuously promotes the Scottish child payment across multiple channels including social media, marketing and news releases; via key stakeholders; and through the distribution of promotional materials to partners including libraries, nurseries and schools.

Photo of Marie McNair Marie McNair Scottish National Party

Will the cabinet secretary comment on the impact that the payment is having on keeping children in Scotland out of poverty? Does she share my concerns about the Westminster Government’s two-child policy undermining our efforts? Will she be clear that the two-child policy and its abhorrent rape clause will never be considered for the Scottish child payment?

Photo of Shirley-Anne Somerville Shirley-Anne Somerville Scottish National Party

I confirm to the member that the Scottish child payment is available for every eligible child. Modelling suggests that Scottish Government policies will keep 100,000 children out of relative poverty in 2024-25, which includes keeping 60,000 children out of poverty through the Scottish child payment.

The member is quite right: the UK Government could do so much more. It could lift a further 40,000 children out of poverty next year if it made key changes to social security, including reversing the two-child limit and introducing an essentials guarantee. It is disappointing that the spring budget held none of those policies and that, therefore, those children will remain in poverty due to Westminster’s inactivity.