Alasdair Allan, SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar has welcomed the SNP’s announcement last week of a new social benefit designed to help lift children across Scotland out of poverty.

By the end of 2022, eligible families in the Western Isles will receive an extra £10 a week for every child under 16 – low income families with children under the age of six will be fast tracked and start to receive the benefit in early 2021.

This announcement means that eligible families with two children under 16 will receive an additional £1,000 a year to spend on day to day essentials from clothing to school equipment.

Once fully rolled out, the payment will benefit up to 410,000 children across Scotland - not only supporting those in poverty and but also preventing those on the breadline from sliding under. There is no cap on the number of children in eligible families.  

The announcement has been celebrated by anti-poverty campaigners who have branded the new benefit a “gamechanger”. 

Commenting, Alasdair Allan MSP said:

“As we mark 20 years of the Scottish Parliament, we have seen multiple examples of the Scottish Parliament doing things differently from Westminster. For too long, we saw the islands overlooked by out of touch UK Governments. The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell’s announcement last week of the Scottish Child Payment is another example of the Scottish Parliament delivering for the islands, where previous UK Government’s have failed.

“This is a radical and very welcome announcement – and it’s exactly what we need if we are to reduce child poverty levels here in Islands,  in the face of ongoing welfare cuts from the UK Tory government.

“The ambition of this SNP Government to tackle poverty and give our young people from low income backgrounds the very best start in life is clear.

“I know the new Scottish Child Payment will be a welcome boost to many young families in the islands when it’s fully rolled out over the coming years.

“But the sad reality is, this SNP Government is fighting poverty with one hand tied behind its back – without Westminster imposed austerity, this benefit could do go further and reach more families.

“We’ve seen the progressive policies implemented through devolution since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament. This makes the case for further devolution, and independence in order to deliver for the people of Scotland.

“This move is the mark of a serious Government – willing to take bold action to address the needs of Scotland’s people.”

John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said:

"This new payment is an absolute game changer in the fight to end child poverty - £10 a week for each child will make a real difference to families struggling to put food on the table, heat their homes and pay for the ordinary school trips, sport and other activities that are fundamental to a decent childhood.  Today's announcement is a landmark recognition of the role the Scottish social security system can play in ending child poverty.”

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