JRF response to the Scottish Budget

Jim McCormick, Associate Director Scotland of the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said:

“This Budget was an opportunity to show the Scottish Government’s ambition to deliver on tackling poverty, yet today’s statement falls short of the mark.

“It cannot be right that one in four children in Scotland have their lives restricted by poverty. At the start of the decade in which all parties have pledged to solve child poverty, we welcome the financial commitment to introduce the Scottish Child Payment. But we know this won’t be enough to turn the tide: Scotland is not on track to meet the ambitious targets set for 2023-24.

“Scotland’s lower levels of child poverty compared with the rest of the UK are due to lower housing costs. If this advantage is to be maintained then the affordable homes programme needs to be continued beyond 2021. Now is the time to commit to further investment in secure, affordable homes for those facing rising rents and stuck in temporary accommodation.

“In-work poverty is a pressing economic challenge for families. Two-thirds of children in poverty are in families where an adult is working. The new Parental Employment Support Fund is too small to meet the scale of the challenge and only runs for two years. Investment should be increased and extended to benefit more families for longer.”