YOUNG Scottish mums have urged UK political leaders to end age discrimination in Universal Credit ahead of the Autumn Budget.

Single parents from Glasgow, Edinburgh and Lanarkshire wrote to the Prime Minister ahead of the Chancellor’s statement next week to set out their “disgust” that those aged under 25 receive less in social security payments.

Compared to those over 25, young mums are paid £75 less through Universal Credit, a policy they say shows politicians “don’t care” about younger parents.

“We feel like we are being told we are worth less and our kids don’t deserve the same things as kids who have older parents,” the collective of young parents wrote in a letter to Rishi Sunak and other UK political leaders.

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The plea has been backed by One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) and 81 other organisations and charities.

Figures show that young couple parents are around £120 worse off a month - £1440 a year -  -  while single parents receive £75 less a month, around £900 a year, less than those who are aged over 25.

Campaigners say this discrepancy has a detrimental impact on babies and children in a young parent family.

The heart wrenching letter to Sunak reads: “People think you get pregnant for money. This isn’t true.

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“We have had to make so many sacrifices. We can’t remember the last time we went out and bought something for ourselves, even just a lipstick for £2.

“It used to cost maybe £50 for a food shop per week and now its costing around £80. We are getting into debt just to pay for basic essentials, such as food and heating.”

They said that while the Scottish Child Payment - which gives those on the lowest incomes £25 a week -  gives parents a “safety net”, they are “still struggling”.

The letter continued: “We are proud to be parents. We had our kids when we were young but that doesn’t make us any less of a good parent as someone older than us.”

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“Please don’t discriminate against us,” they added.

“We are parents, all children deserve the best start in life.”

Emma*, a single parent and End Child Poverty Coalition youth ambassador, told how becoming estranged from her family was “extremely hard”. Now with a one-year-old daughter, she admitted that providing for both of their needs is a “struggle”.

“I find it hard to provide the basic needs of nappies due to her allergies. These can cost me up to £24 a week. I only get £262 Universal Credit for her,” she said.

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“I receive £291 for myself as I'm under 25. I live by myself with no other financial or physical help. My gas and electric on its own is £150.

“I'm struggling to survive. If I received an extra income of £75 a month, I'd be able to stress a little less and be a little happier.

“Childcare is so expensive I wouldn't be able to afford to work by myself even if I was on higher than minimum wage. Young parents like me have the same costs as parents over 25.”

Satwat Rehman, chief executive of OPFS, said that young mums are facing a “staggering rate” of child poverty, more than double for all children.

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She added: “The Westminster government’s decision to deny young parents the same level of social security as older parents penalises children.

“Workers based in our local services across Scotland tell us young families are being pushed to crisis point, with large numbers needing to turn to foodbanks because of the inequality in financial support.”

Rehman added: “We know that supporting these families when they need it most can have a lifelong impact.

“We are asking members of the public to write to their MP urging the UK Government to change its policy about the issue and bring an to end age discrimination in Universal Credit.”

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End Child Poverty coalition, Child Poverty Action Group, Save the Children, Action for Children, Turn2Us, The Equality Trust, Pregnant Then Screwed, and BPAS (British Pregnancy Advisory Service), are among the organisations supporting the call.

Rachel Walters, End Child Poverty Coalition coordinator, said: “We know that life is hard for all parents on low incomes, and yet at the moment life is made even harder for young parents under 25, who – simply because of their age – receive less financial support.

“The young parents we work with tell us that this means they are often forced to make impossible choices such as paying for food or paying to heat their homes.

“This is an illogical policy decision and needs to be reversed immediately to ensure that young parents and their children are treated the same as older parents.”