1000’s of households lacking out on Scottish Child Payment regardless of being eligible, warns Labour MSP

More than 150,000 kids in Scotland are lacking out on a flagship Holyrood profit regardless of being eligible for it, a Labour MSP has warned.

Pam Duncan-Glancy mentioned the sluggish up-take of the Scottish Child Payment (SCP) was proof that some households have been struggling to navigate the social safety system.

The Glasgow MSP advised the Record she needs to see a shift within the long-term to a unique type of profit fee which might see funds deposited in folks’s financial institution accounts routinely.

Duncan-Glancy welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement final month to extend the SCP from £20 to £25 by the top of this 12 months.

But she added it was not sufficient by itself if SNP ministers have been to fulfill their formidable targets on decreasing the variety of kids residing in poverty.

“Experts have been saying for a couple of years now that the government must get moving if it is to meet its poverty targets,” she mentioned.

“The extra fiver added to the SCP is a good thing and we welcomed it. But it won’t take effect until December – and that’s a long time for people who are struggling.

“And hundreds of youngsters are usually not getting it anyway – both as a result of they do not get the kid fee in any respect, as a result of take-up is low, or they get bridging funds which haven’t been doubled.”

Figures show that 177,000 children are not receiving the SCP, while a further 150,000 are receiving bridging payments of £10 per week before they are moved on to the full benefit.

Duncan-Glancy, Scottish Labour’s social justice spokeswoman, wants to see a radical shake-up of how benefits are delivered.

But in the short-term, she wants to see bridging payments doubled to £20 per week.

Asked why take-up is low, she said: “Ultimately, it’s as a result of the fee has not been automated.

“If you are in a situation where you are struggling to put money in the meter, or put food on the table, making an application for benefits can be hard.

“You must know methods to do it and have entry to the web – in any other case you need to journey for a face-to-face assembly, which might value cash.

“People living in poverty have to act like project managers because of the number of types of support they have to coordinate.

“Accessing every part you’re entitled to could be one of many hardest issues to do.

“We would, as far as possible, automate the benefits system and social security.”

She added: “I honestly don’t believe that in 2022 we don’t have the technical capability to do it.

“If you consider how tax is calculated. Your hours go up, your tax modifications.

“We can do it when the government is taking money back – so we can certainly do it when the government is giving it out.

“It’s not one thing that may be executed tomorrow – however it’s one thing we ought to be beginning to construct.”

A Scottish Government spokesman mentioned: “We would dispute any claim that Scottish Child Payment uptake is low – our most recent estimate is that, as of June last year, this game-changing benefit had been claimed for 77 per cent of eligible children.

“We have since doubled the payment, and at the end of this year we will increase it again to £25 a week as well as extending it to under-16s.

“We introduced Bridging Payments to provide immediate support to school age children from low income households, with £150 million set to be awarded to families across 2021 and 2022. More than 144,000 children were being supported through these payments as of December 2021.”

The spokesman added: “While we recognise the benefits of automated payment, this would require substantial work to implement, and when designing the Scottish Child Payment we prioritised getting the payments to families as soon as possible.

“We will again assess whether it’s possible to bring in automation once the benefit has been fully rolled out.”

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