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Child Poverty in Scotland — [Sir David Crausby in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:30 pm on 30th October 2019.

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Photo of Hugh Gaffney Hugh Gaffney Labour, Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill 2:30 pm, 30th October 2019

I totally agree. That is a change we can make today.

The Government decided to implement a two-child limit policy, despite warnings from this House and charities that it would worsen child poverty in Scotland. What was warned about has come to pass, and almost 4,000 low-income families in Scotland are affected, with a loss of £3,000 per year for each family. We cannot ignore the impact of other welfare reforms introduced by the Government. The benefit cap affects over 3,000 households in Scotland, 92% of which contain children. The benefits freeze has impacted low-income families, further fuelling child poverty across Scotland.

It would be fair to say that the Government’s welfare reforms have worsened the child poverty rate in Scotland, but we cannot ignore the fact that the Scottish Government have gained greater powers, which would enable them to better address child poverty. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation highlights that in areas of Scotland such as Edinburgh, where the private rent sector is bigger than the social sector, private rent growth has outstripped inflation over the last decade. Higher rents impact on the incomes of families, meaning that they are less able to cover essential costs such as food and heating. Undoubtedly, that fuels child poverty across Scotland.