THE impact of Tory welfare cuts on under-25s have been revealed in new figures showing more than half of children with young mothers are living in poverty.

A new Scottish Government report has found households with a mother aged under 25 are at higher risk of poverty than any type of family group.

More than half – 55% - of children from this background were in relative poverty in 2015-18, compared to 24% of youngsters overall.

The challenges faced by mothers in this age group included being more likely to have lower-paid jobs and have less time to build up savings, the report notes.

But it also highlighted that under-25s have less generous social security benefits - for example with Universal Credit.

READ MORE: Scottish Child Payment pays out £84m to low income families

Since 2010, when the Tories came into power, it also noted there has been a “clear reduction” in overall UK Government spending on housing in the UK, such as the introduction of the “bedroom tax” and reductions in housing benefits rates and eligibility.

The report said: “The transition to Universal Credit has disproportionately impacted single parents under 25.

“People under 25 are entitled to a lower allowance of benefits than people aged 25 and over and, with Universal Credit, no longer receive an exemption for single parents to account for the cost of caring for a child alone.

“This has had direct impacts on young single parents who face difficulties having to meet the same financial pressures but with less support from social security income after the transition.

“Young parents also experienced a further decrease in their Universal Credit allowance with the removal of the £20 uplift.”

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John Dickie, director of Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said: “It is totally unfair but not surprising that young parents are more likely to be in poverty. The social security system penalises them and they face lower wages and greater barriers to employment.

“That’s why the UK Government must immediately end the under 25 penalty in universal credit by paying parents under 25 the same rate as other working-age adults.”

A second Scottish Government report also found just over a third – 34% - of children in households with a child under one were living in relative poverty between 2017-2010, compared to 24% of children overall.

Dickie added: “In the meantime, the Scottish government could also do more to tackle the immediate hardship young families face.

“These Scottish government reports accurately identify the problem, Holyrood ministers now need to explore how they can use their social security powers to mitigate the under 25 penalty.

“They must also do more ensure young parents have the childcare they need to access the education and job opportunities available to them. "

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We agree that Universal Credit should be paid at the same amount no matter the age of the person applying. This would help many people and families who are facing hardship due to this age discrimination that the UK Government has introduced.

“This is in contrast to the significant support the Scottish Government is supplying to all low-income parents.

“By the end of 2022, the Scottish Government’s package of five family payments will be worth over £10,000 for eligible families on the lowest incomes by the time their first child turns 6 – and £9,700 for subsequent children.

“This includes the Scottish Child Payment, which we doubled to £20 per child per week in April and will increase again to £25 when we extend it to under 16s by the end of the year – a 150% rise.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “Latest figures show that there were 200,000 fewer children in absolute poverty after housing costs compared to 2019/20.

"But we recognise people are struggling with rising prices which is why we are protecting the eight million most vulnerable families with at least £1200 of direct payments.

“We’re also making work pay and significantly increased the National Living Wage in April to a record high. Through our £37bn support package, we are saving the typical employee over £330 a year through a tax cut this month while allowing people on Universal Credit to keep, on average, £1000 more of what they earn.”