Ahead of the General Election, care leaver charity Staf has called on politicians to commit to tackling poverty by raising incomes and reforming social security.

As a society we must all take action to turn the rising tide of poverty in our communities. In Scotland, 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 4 children are now living in poverty – with most living in working households

In particular, young people leaving care continue to face significant barriers to achieving a successful transition into adulthood that, in turn, make them more vulnerable to poverty.

To prevent and mitigate poverty amongst care leavers, Staf has called for:

  • 'levelling-up' the incomes of care leavers by ensuring the real Living Wage applies to all
  • the five week wait for the first payment of Universal Credit to be scrapped
  • rather than a focus on punitive sanctions, social security services should be person-centred, relationship-based and trauma-informed
  • all care leavers to be exempt from the Shared Accommodation Rate for Housing Benefit to support them to secure and maintain their own tenancy

Staf CEO Jo Derrick said:

“We all believe that young people in and leaving care deserve care and love. Yet too many face poverty in their transition to adulthood.

"At this election we’re calling on all political parties to commit to action that ensures no care leaver lives in poverty.

"The next UK Government should ensure that no care leaver earns below the real Living Wage or is subject to punitive benefit sanctions or arbitrary waiting periods for benefits.

"Instead, our members have told us that our social security system should be person-centred, supporting the young person’s individual needs in a relationship-based and trauma-informed manner.

"Turning the rising tide of poverty in our society is our collective responsibility – there can be no delay in taking the action required.”

Read our General Election Briefing on Care Leavers and Poverty