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A shift in attitudes, policy and practice is needed on childcare, flexible work and benefits is needed to lift families out of poverty, according to a new report.
One in four children in Scotland live in poverty. A new report by Joseph Rowntree Foundation says the majority are in poverty because their parents are restricted by a lack of work, mainly due to disability, or the struggle to juggle work and childcare. In the majority of cases, it is the mother who works part time or is locked out of the jobs market, it says.
The report recommends that the Scottish Government raise awareness and encourages good practice among employers to make flexible work for men and women easier. It also proposes that it offer flexible and affordable childcare for low-income parents with children of all ages, including after school and holiday provision. In addition it would like to see greater shared rights to parental leave.
It also calls on the Scottish Government to help parents find work, increase their hours or help people stuck in part-time work progress and on the Holyrood and Westminster governments to ensure benefits act as an anchor against poverty. It says the UK Government should raise the work allowance (the amount people can earn before their Universal Credit payment is affected) to enable families to keep more of what they earn. Alongside this, JRF wants to see take-up of Scottish flexibilities boosted (more frequent payments and the housing allowance going to landlords) and new social security payments in Scotland uprated in line with inflation.