CHILD POVERTY CAMPAIGNERS ARE HIGHLIGHTING the financial support that low income families are still entitled to, as the £20 a week cut to Universal Credit comes into effect.

In a short new report After the universal credit cut – what now?, published as part of Challenge Poverty Week, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland says too many families do not claim council tax reduction or other benefits that they have a right to, including additional support for disabilities or long term illness.

With a cut of £1040 a year to their universal credit now a reality, they say it is vital these families are supported to get the benefits they are still entitled to.

Kirsty McKechnie, CPAG in Scotland’s Early Warning System project manager, said; “It is shameful that the Prime Minister has pressed ahead with today’s extraordinary cut to ordinary family incomes – ripping over a £1000 a year from already inadequate family budgets. The UK government really must think again and reverse this cut before the damage mounts irreparably. In the meantime it’s vital that families are supported to claim the other financial benefits they are entitled to.

“We know that too many are missing out on council tax reduction and on disability benefits for example, while others are unaware that their children may be entitled to free school meals and school clothing grants. And of course the new Scottish child payment is an important source of additional support, including for many working families.”

The new report highlights that the universal credit cut will now:

  • push an estimated 22,000 children into poverty in Scotland alone
  •  increase the loss in social security support available to a low paid workers since 2010 dramatically. For example a full time care-worker and their family see the support they have lost compared to 2010 increase from £733 a year to £1773
  • · mean 8000 children in Scotland will lose entitlement to universal credit altogether

Ms McKechnie continued: “The scale of the loss ordinary families face as a result of this UK government cut is frightening. It makes the Scottish government’s commitment to double the value of the new Scottish child payment even more important. Children need to see that additional support now.”

The Scottish Child Payment is a weekly payment of £10, available for every child under 6 years of age. It does not affect any other UK or Scottish Government benefits that a household currently receives.

* Read After the universal credit cut – what now? here.

*  Source: Child Poverty Action Group