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News: More than £3 million in disability benefits for Scottish children

Posted 18 May, 2022 by Nina Joynson

More than 3,000 children and young people have received the Child Disability Payment since it was launched in July 2021, including 2500 new applicants.

The Scottish Government published its first round of statistics on delivery of the Child Disability Payment this week, showing national uptake in the eight months since the benefit opened.

Figures show that, as of 31 March 2022, £3.25 million has been issued in Child Disability Payments to an estimated 3,050 children and young people across Scotland.

Scotland Act 2016

The new payment arose from the Scotland Act 2016, which devolved new powers to the Scottish Parliament regarding social security, including responsibility for disability benefits.

The Child Disability Payment replaces the Disability Living Allowance for Children previously delivered by the UK Government.

Of those currently receiving the Scottish benefit, 555 have had their payment transferred from the UK Government’s payment. The remaining 2,500 are new applicants.

Approximately 43% of applications were made for children aged 5-10, 30% for children aged 11-15, and 27% for those aged 0-4.

Ben Macpherson, Scottish Government Minister for Social Security, said:

“It is excellent to see that Child Disability Payment is already making a difference to the lives of thousands of children and young people, and their families.

"For the first time anywhere in the UK, we have an online application facility for applying for our disability benefits, and the high number of people choosing to use this demonstrates that we have been responsive to the way people want to access social security.

“We are determined to ensure there is a seamless process for all recipients whose payments are moving from DWP to Social Security Scotland, and we will continue to transfer cases in a safe and secure manner. Importantly, the process is automatic – people do not need to reapply and they will be kept informed at all times.”

The Child Disability Payment was made available nationally from November 2021, following a pilot across three Scottish local authority areas.

An alarm clock with large colourful numbers next to coins. Some of the coins are in two piles, with plants growing from the top.

News: Rewind welfare reform says new report

Posted 13 April 2022, by Nina Joynson

A new report estimates that 30,000 children in Scotland could be lifted out of poverty if key UK Government reforms were reversed.

The Scottish Government's Welfare reform – impact on families with children report, outlines the impact of UK Government welfare reform on families and children in Scotland.

It estimates that 70,000 people in Scotland, including 30,000 children, would be lifted from poverty in 2023-24 if key reforms introduced by the UK Government since 2015 were reversed.

They suggest that, even in isolation, each of the following interventions would lift 10,000 children out of poverty:

  • Reinstate the £20 uplift to Universal Credit. This temporary measure was introduced at the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic and removed in October 2021.
  • Reverse the benefit freeze. The freeze was in place between 2015 and 2019 and affected several UK Government benefits. These have now been uprated for inflation, however the residual impact of the freeze is retained in the new rates.
  • Reverse the two-child limit and removal of the family element. Both reforms were introduced in 2017 to limit child tax credit and Universal Credit awards to two children per household and make the family element only available to households with children born before 6 April 2017.

The report claims reversing all reforms would also increase disposable income for households with children on the lowest 10% of incomes, and for those in poverty, by 11% and 10% respectively.

Children in single-adult households would be particularly affected by intervention, with 20,000 children pulled from poverty and a poverty rate reduction of 7 percentage points.

The cost of intervention

The total cost of reversing reforms is estimated to be around £780 million per annum.

Reversing the two-child limit and removal of the family element is suggested to be the most cost-effective way of reducing child poverty.

Scottish Government action

The report comes after the Scottish Government published its second Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Report which sets out both short and long-term action to support people out of poverty and tackle its causes.

Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, said:

“Tackling child poverty is our national mission and we are helping to lift thousands of children out of poverty in Scotland within our limited powers. This report lays bare the cost of repeated UK Government welfare reforms since 2015 and the challenge we face in lifting children and families out of poverty for good.

“We have introduced a package of five family benefits, including the Scottish Child Payment that we will raise to £25 a week by the end of 2022. We are also investing in employment support for parents, through new skills and training opportunities and key worker support to help reduce household costs and drive longer term change.”

Click here to read the Welfare reform - impact on families with children in Scotland report

Click here to read Best start, Bright futures: tackling child poverty delivery plan 2022-26


News: Calls to abandon Universal Credit cut

Posted on 25 August 2021 by Jennifer Drummond

Save the Children UK has revealed nearly half of Universal Credit claimants don’t feel they can survive on the impending reduction and is urging the UK government to scrap plans to cut the benefit.

New polling from Save the Children UK shows that almost half (47%) of claimants, equivalent to nearly three million people, are worried about the impact of a reduction to their household budget.

The warning comes as the UK Government prepares to cut the Universal Credit allowance by £20 per week, reversing the increase applied to assist with the cost of living and the impact of the global pandemic.

The rollback is the most significant social security cut since the Second World War and the foundation of the modern welfare state. It is anticipated to hit millions of households by up to £1000 per year.

Asked about their household budgets:

  • 3 in 5 respondents said it would be harder to afford food
  • Nearly half (48%’) said it would be harder to cover essential bills
  • More than 2 in 5 (43%) said it would be harder to pay for clothing
  • Nearly 2 in 5 parents (37%) said it would be harder to afford children’s items such as books and toys

Dan Paskins, Director of UK Impact at Save the Children, said:

“The £20 increase is a lifeline for families. People tell us that they’re relying on it for essentials like food and clothing for themselves and their children. Without it, hundreds of thousands more people will be pushed into poverty.

“That’s why we’re calling on the UK Government to abandon its plans to cut Universal Credit this autumn. Across political divides, a growing number of voices agree that our social security net has got to be strong enough to catch people when they need it most.

“This is a test of the UK Government’s levelling-up agenda. Ministers should support families and communities to rebuild, not cut them adrift.”

Save the Children spoke to Gemma, a part-time working single mum to three-year-old Poppy, who said:

“Without the £20 a week increase, I was having to budget but the money just wasn’t stretching to my bills. So for me, £20 a week is a lifeline. It buys Poppy’s packed lunches and her food for the week.

“The government says they are taking away this £20 increase to encourage people back into work, but lots of people claiming Universal Credit are in work and it’s simply to top up earnings because of low incomes or perhaps just one parent having one single income coming in.”

The reduction is due to hit claimants from October.

Celebrate young voters' impact - and listen to them on Brexit

Children in Scotland Chief Executive Jackie Brock made the following statement reflecting on the result of the 2017 UK General Election:

"As an organisation that has always championed young people’s participation, today we celebrate the fact that an estimated 72% of 18-24 year olds turned out to vote in the UK General Election.

Whichever party they voted for, young people’s involvement on this scale is a massively positive statement about the contribution they can make to our political process, in Scotland and across the UK.

One of the many beneficial side effects of this powerful youth vote, which looks to have increased from 43% in 2015, is that in coming elections parties should no longer be able take young people for granted, patronise them or ignore their priorities. They must instead design policies that are relevant and harness their energy at grassroots level.

While we need to wait until a fuller picture emerges, and other important factors will have shaped young people’s choices, it seems likely that the surge in young voters partly represents a rebuke to Theresa May’s stance on Brexit. As I have previously argued71% of 18-24 year-olds in the UK voted to Remain in last year’s referendum on EU membership.

In this context the new political settlement is an opportunity to strengthen young people’s participation and hear what they have to say about Brexit – a debate from which they have thus far been marginalised.

We therefore call on the new government to ensure that the process of leaving the EU does not negatively impact on children’s rights. We also urge all parties to consider the voices and priorities of children throughout the upcoming negotiations.

Over the next five years, with our members, Scottish civil society organisations and partner networks across the UK and Europe, we will work to ensure that children’s rights are protected and their voices heard – and that the implications of Brexit for our children and families is at the top of the political agenda.

Related to this is the issue of how young people can be enfranchised so that their voices always count in decisions that impact their future. We believe 16 and 17-year-olds must be given the opportunity to vote in all elections.

Under Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), children and young people have the right to be heard in decisions that affect them. Realising this will require genuine political courage and a belief in the principles of participation.

The current approach to voting rights across the UK – where young people can cast their ballots in Scottish and local government elections but not take part in polls at UK level – is incoherent and completely at odds with what participation in a modern democratic society should mean.

During the campaign the Prime Minister ruled out lowering the voting age to 16, saying that being able to participate in elections is not necessary to become ‘engaged’ in politics. This was a specious argument.

Alongside concerted efforts across the UK to involve children and young people in developing policy and legislation, we want voting reform to be taken seriously. Scotland’s and the rest of the UK’s 16 and 17 year olds deserve a say in how we create a fairer society.

We know that young people’s participation can be stifled by poverty, and this can lead to disengagement from the political process. Poverty negatively affects every aspect of children and young people’s lives, from their home environment to health and education.

The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has forecast that UK child poverty will rise to 30.3% in 2021-22, meaning an additional one million children living in poverty. The IFS, which is politically independent, also states that ‘this increase is entirely explained by the impact of tax and benefit reforms over this [2015-17] parliament’.

In light of this, we are calling for Child Benefit to be increased and the Benefit Cap removed. If left in place, the cap will have a hugely negative impact on the lives of children, young people and their families.

Children in Scotland has consistently called for a £5 Child Benefit top-up in Scotland, which evidence from Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland suggests will contribute to a 14% reduction in child poverty.

We urge the new UK Government to acknowledge this research and implement this benefit increase across the UK."


Read our full set of calls issued in advance of the election.


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‘Benefit cap will increase child poverty and perpetuate health inequalities’

Children in Scotland has responded to the recent Westminster benefit cap inquiry, warning that the implementation of the cap will increase child poverty and cause vulnerable families to be more reliant on government welfare and services, both now and in the future.

Our response highlights concerns about the implication that those on benefits merely require an incentive to work and identifies barriers such as unaffordable childcare and a lack of skills or training, which make it difficult for people to move straight into work. We urge Westminster to consider positive and active policy measures relating to the provision of childcare and the labour market, which may help make positive inroads in getting more families out of poverty.

Our response also warns of a knock-on effect on other areas of public spending, and states:

“We suggest [the cap] will increase child poverty rates and impact negatively on health and wellbeing of both the adults claiming and their children. This is likely to contribute to an increasing level of pressure on the NHS, CAMHS and a wide array of other services, and contribute to increased costs for the government and local authorities.”

Last year, the UK Government introduced a benefit cap. It limits the income households can receive in certain benefits to £20,000 a year outside of London and to £23,000 in London.

The inquiry, launched by the UK Work and Pensions Committee, aims to identify how it impacts on the estimated 88,000 British households affected by the new cap.

Alongside our own response, we also fully endorse and support the response of the Child Poverty Action Group to the inquiry. We hope the committee take on board fully the recommendations made, taking account of the impact of the benefit cap on the day-to-day life of children, young people and families across the UK.

Benefit cap inquiry

Read Children in Scotland full response to the inquiry

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Benefit cap inquiry launched

Read more about the benefit cap inquiry

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Effective child protection system ‘depends on poverty reduction and strong local services’

The Scottish Government today announced its response to the Child Protection Systems Review Report.

Amongst a raft of actions, Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald said the government would introduce new legislation to criminalise emotional abuse and neglect of children.

Responding to today’s announcement Children in Scotland Chief Executive Jackie Brock, who was a member of the review group, said:

“Children in Scotland was pleased to be represented in the Child Protection Systems review group and I am delighted that the Scottish Government has accepted its recommendations in full.

“We commend the Scottish Government for recognising the need to strengthen our systems while acknowledging there are already strong foundations in place.

“But we cannot be complacent. I therefore warmly welcome the commitment for continued monitoring to ensure the recommendations are fully met and actioned.”
Ms Brock, author of the 2014 Brock Report which reported on the state of the Scottish child protection system, also reflected on the importance of investment, support for communities, and early intervention.

“We hope the Scottish Government acknowledges that the effectiveness of our child protection system and services relies on investment and support for children's services within the local community,” she said.

“Evidence is clear that families living in poverty are far more likely to have their children removed from them than those who are better off.
“Scotland's child protection system, therefore, must be underpinned by a strong focus on tackling poverty and supporting local children's services.

“We must move forward with the implementation of Getting it Right For Every Child, which is internationally recognised as providing the most effective approach for protecting children and intervening early if problems arise.

"With this in mind, we continue to be deeply concerned by the UK Government's attacks on our benefits system and the cuts facing local authorities and their partners.

“The Scottish Government must address these challenges if the specific recommendations of the review are to be implemented successfully.”

The Child Protection Systems review group is to be reconvened in April 2018 to review progress on the recommendations.

Read the Scottish Government's press release here, and the full report of the Child Protection Systems review group here.
Read the Brock report here.

Media contact:
Chris Small

Notes for editors:

The Child Protection Systems Review Group was established in 2016 with representation from a wide range of professionals with child protection expertise at a national and local level, and independently chaired by Catherine Dyer (Former Crown Agent and Chief Executive of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service). The Review Group was asked by Ministers to look at the operation of the formal child protection system and to recommend what changes might be needed in order to protect children and young people more effectively. Children in Scotland Chief Executive Jackie Brock was a member of the group.

Children in Scotland is the collective voice for children, young people and families in Scotland, and organisations and businesses that have a significant impact on children’s lives in Scotland. It is an influencing and membership organisation, comprised of more than 500 representatives from the voluntary, public and private sectors.




Becoming a Children in Scotland member means adding your voice to an ever-gorwing network.

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