Oxfam calls for increased support for families in poverty

Date: 6th August 2020
Category: Basic Health and Welfare

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A new briefing from Oxfam Scotland explores the link between the undervaluing of care work in Scotland, including childcare, and increasing poverty levels. It calls on the Scottish Government to use its devolved powers to protect low-income families.

The national poverty rate across Scotland is 21% but this rises to 24% for families with children and 39% for single women with children, highlighting the gendered nature of poverty.

This has been exacerbated due to COVID-19. Since March, 46% of families have reported a reduction in income. Third sector organisations have reported increases in requests for support. Figures from the Trussell Trust show a 62% rise in emergency food parcels given to families with children.

Oxfam Scotland is calling on the First Minister and the Scottish Government to commit to bold action to fully value and invest in boosting income levels for those with childcare responsibilities and lifting low-income families out of poverty for good.

Some of the recommendations include:

  • Supporting those caring for children to secure and sustain decent work by boosting access to high-quality, accessible and flexible public-funded childcare.
  • Ensure those juggling paid and unpaid caring work can avoid poverty by increasing quality of work, strengthening voluntary accreditation schemes and Fair Work First.
  • Immediately use devolved powers to give low-income families the equivalent of at least £10 per week per child.
  • Ensuring access to timely and adequate emergency financial support for those facing an income crisis.

Read the Make Care Count in Scotland briefing here.

Read about Oxfam Scotland’s letter to the First Minister here.