Commissioner echoes civil society call for emergency cash boost to families

As over 100 organisations and academics call on the Scottish Government to deliver emergency financial support to families, Commissioner Bruce Adamson has said Scotland is failing to meet the most basic human rights of its children.

Since lockdown began, the Commissioner has called for direct payments for families so they can provide their children with the things they need to grow up safe and healthy.

His comments come as a letter with over 100 signatories – including many from across civil society – expressed grave concern around the impact of the coronavirus crisis on family incomes and the wellbeing of children.


Often people want to get into groups to change things about how society works. These groups might be charities, non-governmental organisations, pressure groups or social movements. Collectively, these groups make up civil society.

Civil society doesn’t include:

  • organisations that are run for profit, such as private companies,
  • political parties and organisations run by the government,
  • independent institutions who monitor human rights— such as the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland.

What does the letter highlight?

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, poverty was the biggest human rights issue facing Scotland’s children.

The letter to the First Minister highlights that the impact of COVID-19 has put families under even more financial strain, risking long term consequences for Scotland’s children.

It says that despite the support that already exists – and the work the Scottish Government has done already ­­– progress on tackling child poverty is at risk. The crisis can’t be allowed to undermine the 2030 poverty targets set by the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act.

What has the Commissioner said around child poverty and the coronavirus crisis?

The most dignified way to support families is to give them a direct payment of £20 a week― so the Scottish Government should urgently introduce a national direct payment scheme. That will help make sure that families can feed their children.

Learn more about how the Scottish Government must protect children’s rights during the coronavirus crisis.

What has the Commissioner said?

Commissioner Bruce Adamson fully supports calls for financial support to be given to all families living on low incomes to help them through the coronavirus crisis.

He said:

“Poverty was the biggest human rights issue facing children in Scotland before the COVID-19 pandemic and this crisis is having a disproportionate effect on those already most at risk.

“It is clear that the Scottish Government must do more to support families living on low incomes, particularly through the provision of direct payments which will help with providing the basic necessities like food and warmth.

“The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has warned of the grave physical, emotional and psychological effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and called on governments to activate immediate measures to ensure that children’s basic human rights can be met.

“It is a shameful that in a country as wealthy as Scotland we are failing to meet children’s most basic human rights and we cannot allow this to continue.”

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