The report builds on calculations which find that across the UK it costs at least £160,000 to bring up a child at a socially acceptable standard of living. However, inflation and real-terms cuts to UK benefits mean that, for example, out of work families with children now receive under half what they need through universal credit and child benefit. In Scotland, families benefit from a range of Holyrood policies, including the new Scottish child payment, to reduce these costs and to improve incomes. Alongside cheaper than average childcare this can reduce the net cost of bringing up a child by over a third for low-income families.
The report warns that in the past year, rising costs have made incomes less adequate relative to families’ needs throughout the UK. The shortfall has risen from around 30 per cent to 40 per cent below needs in Scotland, and from over 40 per cent to over 50 per cent elsewhere in the UK.