New report: cost of a child in Scotland

Date: 12th March 2024
Category: General principles, Disability, Basic Health and Welfare

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This report is the latest in a series – commissioned by Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland from the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University. It builds on calculations which find that across the UK it cost at least £166,000 to bring up a child at a socially acceptable standard of living in 2023.

The report has found a huge gap remains between the cost of raising a child in Scotland and actual family incomes, despite the significant impact of Scottish Government policies and lower childcare costs. However, as a result of inflation and the enduring impact of UK benefit cuts, families with children who have little, or no paid work still receive under half of what they need through Universal Credit and Child Benefit. In Scotland, the report findings shows that families are benefitting from a range of Holyrood policies, to reduce these costs and to improve incomes.

The research also finds that working families, whilst  benefitting from lower-cost childcare in Scotland as compared to England, are often still unable to meet the minimum socially acceptable standard of living even if working full -time on the national living wage.

John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said:

“This important analysis confirms that Scottish Government policies that are already in place, not least the Scottish Child Payment, are making a big difference to families.

“But there is still a huge gap between incomes and the minimum cost of raising a child. The Scottish Budget needs to do far more to plug that gap. It’s bitterly disappointing that as yet we have not even seen an increase in the Scottish Child Payment to the £30 per week that the First Minister said he wanted during his leadership campaign.

This new analysis shows just how much more is needed to ensure families have an adequate income to give their children a decent start in life.”