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Reversing welfare changes could lift 70,000 out of poverty, report says

Shona Robison said she was determined to help low-income households (Fraser Bremner)
Shona Robison said she was determined to help low-income households (Fraser Bremner)

Around 70,000 people in Scotland could be lifted out of poverty if certain welfare changes by the UK Government made since 2015 were reversed, a report says.

The Scottish Government report says 30,000 children would be among those lifted out of poverty by 2024 if three interventions were made.

These are reinstating the £20 uplift to Universal Credit, reversing the benefit freeze and reversing the two-child limit.

The welfare reform report says this would increase disposable income for households with children with the lowest 10% of incomes by around 11%.

It would cost a total of £780 million to make the changes, with re-instating the £20 uplift costing £540 million.

A microsimulation model called UKMOD was used to measure the impact of the changes.

Social Justice Secretary Shona Robison said: “Tackling child poverty is our national mission and we are helping to lift thousands of children out of poverty in Scotland within our limited powers.

“This report lays bare the cost of repeated UK Government welfare reforms since 2015 and the challenge we face in lifting children and families out of poverty for good.

“We are determined to tackle the cost-of-living crisis and we’re already helping to lift thousands of children out of poverty.

“We invested almost £6 billion from 2018-21 to support low-income households, including around £2.18 billion to directly support children.

“We are also taking steps to mitigate the impact of the UK Government’s bedroom tax and benefit cap as fully as we can within our limited powers.”

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