Families in Scotland are increasingly struggling to meet children’s basic needs

Almost one in four of Scotland’s children is living in poverty and that is projected to rise over the next decade [1]. Without significant policy change, two in every five children are forecasted to be living in poverty by 2030. [2]

The reality of those horrendous figures is that thousands of families are under increasing pressure and often pushed into real hardship. It’s an unforgivable fact that children across Scotland, and the rest of the UK, are forced to rely on food banks, deprived of core school opportunities and have the joy of childhood undermined by completely inadequate family finances. 

It should be that social security protects families against poverty, yet many families in receipt of social security benefits are living below the poverty line. CPAG’s Early Warning System collects information from frontline advisers in Scotland, and the rest of the UK, highlighting the impact of welfare reform and poverty on families:

This is just one case. UK welfare reforms push more children into poverty every week as they reduce the value of the vital support that families in and out of work rely on. While changing that lies with the UK government, there are things that can be done to make a difference now.

Families need support to navigate an increasingly complex social security system, knowing what they’re entitled to and working out what to do if things go wrong – and the frontline agencies they come into contact with are central to that. Whether an agency focuses on health, education or childcare, CPAG aims to increase the capacity of agencies to provide accurate, high quality and effective information on financial support for families with children. With expert knowledge of social security, CPAG provides social security training, handbooks, information resources and casework support for thousands of frontline workers. Information on benefits, grants, help with childcare costs and other entitlements can make a real difference and enable parents to concentrate on the important job of parenting. 

There are a huge range of committed frontline workers in Scotland who can provide incredibly valuable guidance – and whether they have specialist knowledge of benefits or not, CPAG can provide background support. For example, if you work in early years or childcare services in Scotland, CPAG offers free resources and support to promote take-up of benefits and tax credits, identify problems and make effective referrals. CPAG also provides an advice line for frontline advisers and support workers in Scotland.

With the right help, it is possible to relieve some of the pressure. Families with children are struggling every day, but it doesn’t have to be like this. Working together, we can help reduce the number of children growing up in poverty in Scotland.  

For more information on training, fact sheets or advice line please visit: cpag.org.uk/scotland

For more information contact Jen Gracie, Policy and Parliamentary Officer for CPAG in Scotland on jgracie@cpagscotland.org.uk or 0141 611 7090

[1] Latest 2016/17 Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland figures, CH 15, table showing: relative poverty in Scottish households with children (AHC) 1994/5 to 2016/17, www.gov.scot/Publications/2018/03/3017/downloads (See Associated tables) 


About Child Poverty Action Group

CPAG works on behalf of the one in four children in Scotland growing up in poverty. It doesn’t have to be like this. It uses its our understanding of what causes poverty and the impact it has on children’s lives to campaign for policies that will prevent and solve poverty – for good. It is a leading expert provider of second tier social security advice, information and training.