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Child Poverty

Volume 735: debated on Wednesday 28 June 2023

10. What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on trends in the level of child poverty in Scotland. (905590)

14. What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on trends in the level of child poverty in Scotland. (905595)

This Government are committed to tackling child poverty and protecting the most vulnerable in society. In the recent Budget, the Chancellor announced additional support measures for households and families across Scotland and, indeed, across all parts of the United Kingdom. A further example of support for families was announced earlier today, with the UK Government making childcare more affordable.

Almost 90,000 food parcels were given to children in Scotland last year, and the Trussell Trust’s “Hunger in Scotland” report shows that single parents make up only 2% of the population but 17% of those who have gone hungry. This is about insufficiency of income. The adult rate of benefits should be restored to single parents under the age of 25 on universal credit, which would be a practical way for the UK Government to support them. Does the Minister agree?

I recognise the work that the hon. Lady undertakes with the all-party group on food banks. The Government are protecting the most vulnerable, with a £94 billion support package for households, and we have helped nearly 2 million people out of absolute poverty, after housing costs, since 2010.

My constituency is not among the poorest in Scotland, but we already have one in 10 children there—in some areas, one in three—living in poverty, with two thirds of them in working families. With the soaring food prices, sky-high mortgage rates and Edinburgh having the highest increase in annual rents in the UK, families are struggling. We know that our Scottish Government are only interested in independence, so will the Minister tell me what the UK Government are going to do for those families?

The Government recognise the anxiety that people feel about rising mortgages, which is why the Prime Minister’s priority is to halve inflation this year. That is the single best way we can keep costs and interest rates down for people, and we have a clear plan to deliver that. The Chancellor also met mortgage lenders last week and has agreed a mortgage charter, covering 75% of the market. We hope that that will provide reassurance to mortgage holders and others affected by this.