Give Me Five

A campaign to persuade the Scottish Government to add £5 a week to Child Benefit – aiding families within our communities and helping to lift many out of poverty.

The campaign has been spearheaded by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) and is supported by a number of faith groups and third sector organisations across Scotland.

A campaign launch led by the faith community will take place on Wednesday 30 August at the Conforti Institute in Coatbridge from 9.45am – 11.45am.

The Church of Scotland Moderator has confirmed his attendance, as has Bishop Bill Nolan from the Catholic Church,  representatives from the United Reformed Church and from the Scottish Episcopal Church, as well as representatives from the Muslim Council of Scotland and the Sikh community.

Key points about the Give Me Five campaign –

  • The Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill is welcome as it sets ambitious targets relating to the eradication of child poverty in Scotland by 2030.
  • The new powers devolved under the 2016 Scotland Act also provide Scotland with the opportunity to set a different path in the delivery of social security.
  • Setting targets in legislation is welcome, but urgent action to back up these targets is now needed if we are to eradicate child poverty in Scotland and achieve the 2030 goals.
  • There are currently 260,000 children in Scotland living in poverty in Scotland [1]. Modelling suggests that increasing child benefit by £5 a week would alone lift 30,000 children out of poverty [2].
  • Increasing child benefit will also help keep many children living on the margins of poverty from falling below the poverty threshold. An extra £5 per week for families struggling to make ends meet could mean seven breakfasts of cereal, milk, fruit juice and a banana; over two months  –  a good quality winter coat; or taking part in a school trip or out of school activity each week. [3]
  • As a universal benefit, Child Benefit – paid whether parents are in or out of work – has high take up and offers a security and stability that other means tested benefits are unable to provide.

The Cost

Indicative costings suggest that topping up child benefit by £5 for every child in Scotland will cost £256 million per year. This is a significant investment, but should be seen in the context of the Scottish Government’s overall budget. More importantly, the Scottish Government must take into account the cost of not acting to reduce child poverty.

Improving access to high quality employment and skills, removing childcare barriers, and reducing housing costs are essential to addressing child poverty in Scotland in the long term. However, adequate social security support is also vital, particularly for those families who are unable to work or have to work fewer hours due to caring responsibilities, ill-health or disability.

Setting out how the Scottish Government will use its social security powers, and subsequently topping up child benefit by £5 per week, could not only help meet the 2030 child poverty reduction targets, but also help prevent many families from falling below the poverty threshold in the first place.

For more information on the campaign please click here

[1] Latest 2015/16 Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland figures, Table A1: Relative Poverty in Scottish Households 1994/5 to 2014/15, http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0051/00515392.pdf

[2] http://www.cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/CB%20top%20up%20briefing.pdf

[3] http://www.cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/CB%20top%20up%20briefing%20final.pdf

 

IC Change campaign 

The IC Change campaign celebrated at the end of April as the Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women Bill passed both Houses of Parliament, and received Royal Assent.

Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP led the campaign to ratify the Istanbul Convention, which enshrines legal rules on governments to prevent violence against women and prosecute those responsible.  The bill was supported by a range of women’s and feminist campaign organisations who want more action to tackle violence against women and domestic abuse, which often goes under-reported and has historically low rates of conviction compared to other crimes. 

Why the Istanbul Convention?

The Istanbul Convention is the most comprehensive legal framework that exists, outlining minimum standards for a State’s response to violence against women and girls. It covers prevention, protection, prosecution and monitoring. If ratified, the the Convention would bring unprecedented positive change.

The Government has been promising to ratify the Convention since signing it in 2012 but has stalled in making progress over the last two years. We need to increase the pressure on the Government to ratify the Convention and we believe that a Faith Leaders’ Public Call for the Istanbul Convention would help to do this.

There are ways you can support efforts to secure the Istanbul Convention in the UK

  • Write to the MPs and parliamentary networks you are connected with to strongly encourage MPs to attend and vote in favour of the Private Member’s Bill for the Istanbul Convention. For a letter template please click  here
  • Contact MPs on social media and ask them to go to the PMB debate and vote in favour of the Istanbul Convention Bill

For more information on the IC Change campaign follow them on Twitter @ICchangeUK or on Facebook