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Poverty campaigners have called on the Scottish Government to increase child benefit by £5 a week to help reduce rates of child poverty in Scotland, it has been reported today.

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) claim increasing the benefit, which would cost an estimated £256 million a year, could reduce child poverty rates in Scotland by 14 percent and lift 30,000 children out of poverty.

The call is part of wider measures which campaigners say would provide a framework for reducing and ultimately eradicating child poverty in Scotland, the Holyrood magazine reports.

The charity is also calling for an investment in school clothing grants and action on the cost of schooling to help close the education attainment gap.

Other proposed measures include action to reduce benefit delays, assistance for families to access the Scottish Welfare Fund and benefits advice, the introduction of a Child Poverty Action Act, and a brand new childcare strategy to better help working families.

CPAG say the actions are needed to prevent a predicted 50 percent rise in child poverty by 2020.

John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland, said: “New powers coming to Scotland provide a golden opportunity for the new Scottish Government to invest directly in the next generation, reduce child poverty and set Scotland on a different trajectory from what independent forecasters tell us will happen to child poverty across the rest of the UK.

“£5 a week per child could help thousands of families avoid a visit to the food bank. It could make the difference between children missing out on school trips and joining in with their friends.

“Above all, £5 a week will reduce rates of child poverty in Scotland by up to 14 per cent, improving the prospects of thousands of Scotland’s children.”