John Swinney has been urged to make good on his promise to eradicate child poverty, by hiking the Scottish Child Payment to £40.

A number of Scotland’s children’s charities have said this would be a "crucial first step."

The new SNP leader is due to set out his “priorities for Scotland” in a statement to Holyrood later today.

Speaking ahead of the statement, he made clear that ending child poverty will be the ”single most important objective” of his government.

READ MORE: Scotland’s child poverty targets at risk of being missed

The most recent statistics, published in March, showed little change with 260,000 children trapped in poverty in Scotland in 2022-23.


The End Child Poverty coalition - whose members include Aberlour, Save the Children and Oxfam - said they were "hugely encouraged by the First Minister’s commitment to make eradicating child poverty his number one priority" but that this "needs to be backed by immediate action to boost incomes through increases to the Scottish child payment."

Currently, the benefit, which is available to all children under 16 in qualifying households, sits at £25 per week. The coalition wants it to reach £40 per week by the end of the current parliamentary session in 2026. 

John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said Mr Swinney should also look to "remove the barriers to work that so many parents still face."

He added: “Existing commitments to expand funded childcare, close gender, disability and race employment gaps and deliver affordable family housing all need to be funded and built upon.”

READ MORE: ‘It's intolerable' The true horror of child poverty in modern Scotland

Speaking ahead of his statement, Mr Swinney urged other parties to work with him on tackling child poverty.

“I intend to build on our record of delivery. Since 2007, economic growth, per head, and productivity have been stronger in Scotland than the rest of the UK, Scotland’s core A&E units are the best performing in the UK, and measures such as our Scottish Child Payment are estimated to keep 100,000 children in Scotland out of relative poverty this year.

“I am acutely aware of the economic and fiscal realities that we face and I want to take forward measures that will help people and their families to get on in life: to enable the people of Scotland to live happier, healthier lives.

“One of the benefits of long service in politics is having witnessed the Scottish Parliament when it is functioning at its very best. That happens when parties work constructively together.

“My government will do everything in our power – working with Members from across parties – to make child poverty a thing of the past.”