The Scottish Green Party has called on the Scottish Government to help mitigate the damaging effects of the new lower benefit cap on children in Scotland, which they claim “has pushed an additional 11,000 children into potential poverty and homelessness”.
Analysis by the Party suggests the lower cap has led to a 400% increase in the number of Scottish households affected by the controversial policy, which limits the total amount a household can receive in social security benefits and tax credits.
The report, authored by the Scottish Green Party’s social security spokesperson Alison Johnstone MSP, shows that 3,700 families across Scotland have become affected by the lower cap.
This represents an increase of over 3,000, when compared to the number of households affected under the previous cap, with the average household losing around £2,000 a year.
According to the report’s findings, households in East and North Ayrshire are among the worst hit. The number of affected households in East and North Ayrshire has risen by a shocking 900%.
Meanwhile, East Dunbartonshire has seen a rise of over 800%, while the county of Renfrewshire has seen a 700% increase in affected households.
The lower benefit cap came into force in November 2016, reducing the amount a household living outside of Greater London can claim to £384.62 a week for a couple or lone parent with dependent children, or £257.69 a week for a single person without dependent children.
The cap in Greater London is set at a maximum £442.31 a week for couples (with or without dependent children), £442.31 a week for lone parents with dependent children, and £296.35 a week for single people without dependent children.
Alison Johnstone said: “Seven years into the Tories’ cruel agenda of cuts, we now see the terrible impact on children in our communities.
“By reducing the social security support available, while ignoring rising housing costs, the UK Government has pushed an additional 11,000 children into potential poverty and homelessness.
“Our analysis shows that to mitigate this unfair UK policy, the Scottish Government could take the same approach as it rightly did with the hated Bedroom Tax, and use its powers over Discretionary Housing Payments to end the misery caused by the Benefit Cap.
“This would cost in the region of two million pounds a year but it would make a huge difference to the lives of vulnerable families across Scotland.”
Last updated at 04:42 (GMT) on 1 September 2017.