THE Scottish Child Payment should be doubled immediately, a charity has said, following the release of a new study suggesting almost half of children in one-parent families live in relative poverty.

Research from the Institute of Fiscal Studies published by the Guardian on Monday found relative poverty has risen significantly faster for one-parent families across the UK, going up by 9% between 2013-14 and 2019-20, when it reached 49%. According to Scottish Government figures from March of this year, 38% of children living in one-parent families in Scotland are in relative poverty.

Satwat Rehman, CEO of the charity One Parent Families Scotland, told the National that their helpline and website have been inundated by single parents “facing impossible choices with nowhere else to turn.”

Rehman said: “The UK Government’s decision to provide one-off payments to help with rising energy costs do not go far enough for thousands of single parents in poverty in Scotland. Longer-term, targeted support via an uplift in benefits in line with current inflation is needed to lift single parents who are choosing between heating and putting food on the table out of poverty.

“Scotland has challenging targets to end child poverty, which means we need to do more to get cash to the families who need it most. Parents have told us of the difference the Scottish Child Payment has made and it shows the importance of policies that put money in the pockets of low-income families on a regular and longer-term basis. The SCP should be doubled to £40 immediately to support families with the increasing financial pressures they are facing. 

“Now is also the time to support the increasing number of families caught in the rising tide of in-work poverty and increased living costs by investing further in affordable housing, flexible affordable early years and school-age childcare and fair employment.”