The budget includes:
- £428 million to uprate all other devolved benefits in April 2023 by September’s Consumer Price Index inflation level of 10.1%.
- It commits £20 million to extend the Fuel Insecurity Fund for households, including the most vulnerable, against rising energy prices.
- Close to a £1 billion investment in early learning and childcare provision, with a further £22 million invested in holiday food provision and expanding support for school-age childcare.
RCPCH Officer for Scotland, Dr Mairi Stark said:
"We’re pleased to hear that one of the key priorities for this Scottish Budget was eradicating child poverty. We welcome the continued commitment to deliver the Scottish Child Payment, a lifeline to many families, and the investment to uprate all other devolved benefits in April 2023.
"However, we remain disturbed at the numbers of children living in poverty in Scotland. Children and their families are suffering needlessly. The impacts of poverty and deprivation on children cannot be understated. They are lifelong and include higher rates of asthma, diabetes, obesity, stunted growth, low immunity, anxiety, and depression. These children are placed at an unbelievable disadvantage even before entering adulthood. We know that is not a new phenomenon – health inequalities and poverty were pressing matters pre-pandemic. However, COVID-19, rising costs of living and lengthening NHS waiting times are exacerbating the problem and further impacting the lives of Scotland’s children.
"Moving forward, we need to understand how the budget commitments will impact the Best Start, Bright Futures (Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2022 2026). We also require greater detail on how these commitments and the Plan will contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people living in poverty long term. Only by tackling all the causes of poverty, can we begin to improve health inequalities."