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Yousaf urges Hunt to tackle child poverty in Budget

Scotland’s First Minister has urged the Treasury to tackle child poverty in the upcoming Spring Budget.

Speaking ahead of a visit to a children’s library in Edinburgh, Humza Yousaf called on Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to implement an essentials guarantee – which would ensure Universal Credit met the basic needs of recipients – when he announces his spending plans next week.

He also pushed for the end of the two-child benefit cap – which limits the number of children in a single family eligible for social security.

The First Minister said “most of the powers to tackle poverty and the cost of living remain in the UK Government’s hands”.

He added: “The Spring Budget is an opportunity for the Chancellor to take action to provide further targeted support for people who are struggling.

“We have made repeated calls to make social security fit for purpose – by introducing an essentials guarantee, to ensure Universal Credit is always enough to meet people’s basic needs – and by removing the punitive two-child limit and so-called ‘rape clause.’

“This damaging policy restricts the amount of support available to some of our most vulnerable people and disproportionately affects women and children.

“We will continue to do everything within the scope of our powers and budget in order to meet our statutory child poverty targets and will be relentless in that focus, but it is only with the full economic and fiscal powers of an independent nation that ministers can use all levers other governments have to tackle inequalities.”

The UK Government has been contacted for comment.