Roddick claims Tory cuts threaten move to address child poverty in Shetland

The islands’ SNP MSP, Emma Roddick, has raised concerns over the impact of proposed cuts to Universal Credit, claiming that it could undermine the Scottish Government’s planned increase to the Scottish Child Payment, a benefit aimed at reducing the number of children living in poverty by giving extra cash each week to families who rely on UC.

Roddick queried witnesses at today’s meeting of the Social Justice and Social Security Committee on a number of issues, including whether they were concerned that a doubling of the Scottish Child Payment at the same time the £20 Universal Credit uplift is removed would lessen its effectiveness.

She said:

“The Scottish Child Payment exists to help close a gap which has been made wider and wider by over a decade’s worth of Tory governments down south. The doubling of it will be key to tackling child poverty, however, I am worried that cuts to Universal Credit, which all SCP claimants depend on, will lessen its effect.

“Modelling has shown that a £10-a-week increase to the SCP would reduce child poverty, but if the UK Government insists on slashing household income by £20, we may lose that vital relief.

“We all need to work together to tackle child poverty, and I am glad to see that £28,500 was paid directly to families with young children in Shetland this summer as part of the bridging payment prior to full rollout of the benefit.

“It is outrageous that cuts down south could threaten the help of even more children and I, alongside fellow committee members, urge the UK Government to reconsider making a cut which would plunge an estimate half-a-million people into poverty.”