Aberlour Children’s Charity has called on the Scottish Government to deliver a budget that puts more money in the pockets of families struggling to afford basic everyday essential items such as food and clothing.
In a letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, SallyAnn Kelly, Chief Executive of Aberlour Children’s Charity, urged the Scottish Government to introduce the new Family Income Supplement much earlier than planned and provide immediate financial assistance for the more than 1,000,000 people, including 230,000 children, currently living in poverty in Scotland1.
Earlier this year, The Scottish Government committed to introducing the new Family Income Supplement by 2022. Aberlour’s Chief Executive says this is simply too long to wait for the countless families living in poverty today.
The call comes as figures show applications to the charity’s Urgent Assistance Fund – which provides cash grants for families in urgent need of help across the country – rose by 80% in the last 12 months2. In addition to this, a new piece of qualitative research undertaken by Aberlour and Parenting Across Scotland, commissioned by Social Work Scotland and due to be published at the end of this year, will reveal the distressing personal experiences of families around the country forced to request crisis support.
Not only does living in poverty have an immediate negative impact on the family, but there is a significant long-term impact of financial hardship on the social and emotional wellbeing of children. Younger children are missing out on the activities that many families take for granted, while older children are aware of the differences between themselves and their peers, which results in them withdrawing from friendship groups at important stages in their emotional and social development.
Chief Executive of Aberlour Children’s Charity, Sally-Ann Kelly said: “I am urging the Scottish Government to bring forward the introduction of the Family Income Supplement to help the thousands of families in need of urgent financial assistance today, not in three or four years’ time. Poverty is a political decision and it is wrong that in 21st century Scotland anyone should be living in such extreme poverty. Some families who access Aberlour’s Urgent Assistance Fund are unable to afford the most basic household essentials; it simply shouldn’t be this way. We need a budget that provides more money for low income households right now to enable them to live and function as families.”
1 The Scottish Government (2018), Poverty and income inequality in Scotland: 2014-2017, PPDAS375526, Edinburgh. Available at: www.gov.scot/binaries/content/documents/govscot/publications/statistics-publication/2018/03/poverty-income-inequality-scotland-2014-17/documents/00533112-pdf/00533112-pdf/govscot%3Adocument
2 Aberlour’s Urgent Assistance Fund increase in applications:
From September 16 – September 17:
- 172 Applications
- £32,923 given out
From September 17 – September 18:
- 309 Applications
- £69,936 given out