Comment on the Scottish Government’s spending review
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes outlined the Scottish government’s Spending Review on Tuesday 31 May.
Statement from OPFS
“We welcome the funding to increase the Scottish Child Payment to £25 per week per child and rolling it out to children under 16 yrs. However we know further increases will be necessary to help meet the statutory child poverty targets in 2024 and 2030. We support work to develop a ‘minimum income guarantee’ in Scotland over the long term and as a first step we would like to see a commitment to raise the Scottish child payment to £40 by the end of the parliament.
“The review commits to increasing the value of 8 Scottish social security benefits by 6%, including Best Start Grants and Carer’s Allowance Supplement. However with inflation presently running at 9%, we are disappointed that Scottish benefits will not keep pace with the rising cost of living.
“The delivery of 1,140 hours of high quality funded early learning and childcare has made a huge difference to single parents. However OPFS believes the provision of funded, high quality and flexible childcare requires even further investment including for under-fives, comprehensive school-age and holiday childcare. Our vision is that every child up to the age of 12 should receive funded childcare entitlement extended up to 50 hours of high quality childcare and education per week throughout the year.
“The Spending Review allocates an investment of up to £10 million each year to mitigate the Benefit Cap. We are particularly pleased about the recognition by Scottish Government of the devastating impact of the UK Benefit Cap. OPFS has campaigned for many years, along with CPAG, for an increase in the Discretionary Housing Payments budget. We hope local authorities will ring-fence this extra funding & target towards those affected by the benefit cap to eradicate it’s impact.“