Ministers may need to consider raising taxes if Scotland is to meet its legally binding targets for reducing child poverty, MSPs have been told.
Campaigner John Dickie of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) said the “number one priority” for the Scottish Budget for next year should be doubling the Scottish Child Payment “at the very least”.
The payment, made to families on some benefits, currently pays £10 a week for each child – although the Scottish Government is coming under increasing pressure to quickly fulfil the commitment to raise this to £20.
But, he added that looking further ahead to the 203-31 target, “we do need to think about what resources the Parliament has, that the Government has at its disposal, and look longer term at not just spending but at tax powers as well”.
The CPAG Scotland director continued: “One of our clear calls in the medium term is to review the tax powers the parliament has at its disposal to look at how those can be used in a way that will contribute to that objective, to that statutory legal target of reducing child poverty to less than 10% by 2030.”
His comments came as he told how child poverty could cause “extraordinary damage” in terms of the health and education of youngsters whose lives are blighted.
And he warned: “Those are huge costs to us all. The costs of not investing now to reduce those levels of poverty are significant.”