THE SNP are urging action over a new report that found Tory benefit cuts have pushed a significant number of children into poverty.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies’ annual report on living standards found that relative child poverty rose in the years leading up to the pandemic, jumping from 27% in 2013-2014 to 31% in 2019-2020, an increase of 600,000 children.

This means that children in low-income families slipped further behind those from average-income families than during the recovery from the Great Recession.

The report also found that a rise in income from employment for families with at least one adult in work had been “mostly offset” by cuts to the real value of working age benefits.

Commenting, the SNP’s work and pensions spokesperson, Kirsty Blackman, said: “The UK Government has spent the last decade systematically dismantling the UK social security net with cut after cut which, in turn, has actively increased relative child poverty.

"Subsequently, when the pandemic hit, families who had already suffered from austerity were pushed into, or further into, financial hardship.

“Now we face a cost-of-living crisis, exacerbated by this Tory government, with families with children amongst those hit hardest, yet the UK government refuses to support them.”

READ MORE: Child poverty rates still ‘stubbornly’ high, Scottish Government warned

Blackman also urged the UK Government to scrap benefit debt deductions, the benefit cap, and the two-child limit to tackle the rise in child poverty. She also called for the Government to increase Universal Credit, boost legacy benefits by £25, and match the Scottish Child Payment.

She added: “The Scottish Government is taking steps to support households in Scotland by uprating benefits, increasing the Scottish Child Payment and spending around £83 million on mitigating the benefit cap and bedroom tax, however Westminster must also play its part given 85% of social security spending is reserved to Westminster.”

The report also found that while the share of children below or close to the relative poverty line fell between 2013 and 2019, this was due to a fall in the relative prices of essential goods such as gas, clothes and unprocessed foods.

However, Blackman warned that the prices of such items are now rising at a “worrying rate” which may “plunge millions of children and their families back into poverty unless the UK government acts”.