By Bill Heaney
New forecasts from the Scottish Fiscal Commission show a concerning gap between eligibility for, and uptake of, the Scottish child payment, according to Labour MSP Paul O’Kane.
He told the Scottish Parliament: “It is projected that more than 60,000 families could miss out. That disparity is most pronounced among children between six and 15. It has been estimated that only 80 per cent of that age cohort will take up the payment, compared with 92 per cent for under-sixes.
“The Scottish child payment was unanimously supported across the Parliament, but the payment has the ability to change lives only if people are aware that they are entitled to it and—crucially—are supported to apply for it.
“If the First Minister is serious about tackling poverty, as he says he is, will he investigate and address that concerning disparity between eligibility for, and uptake of, the Scottish child payment to ensure that it has the fullest impact, which we all support?
Humza Yousaf told Mr O’Kane, pictured left, : “I give an assurance that that is a key area of focus for the Government, and the Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice and I have already had a conversation about that.
“Good work is already being undertaken in relation to marketing and awareness to ensure that we do everything that we possibly can so that every single person who is eligible for that game-changing intervention takes it up.
“We have made excellent progress on the extension of the Scottish child payment to under-16s. Statistics show that 303,000 children were in receipt of it by the end of March.
“I can give Paul O’Kane an absolute assurance that we are working hard to do what we can to continue to raise awareness so that everybody who is eligible can take up the game-changing Scottish child payment.”