The Alba Party has said it wants to see the Scottish Child Payment increased to £40 per week in a bid to eradicate child poverty.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation and IPPR Scotland have said quadrupling the benefit would lift 50,000 more children out of poverty, at a cost of £380 million per year, Alba estimates.
Leader Alex Salmond announced the move on Tuesday in Dundee, where he said his party hoped to eradicate child poverty in the next parliamentary term.
Mr Salmond said that the Scottish Government should consider the increase if the Universal Credit uplift of £20 is ended by the UK Government.
“The Scottish Parliament under successive SNP Governments has made much progress for the people of Scotland,” he said.
“There are immediate interventions that can be made utilising the parliament’s existing resources.
“Doubling the Scottish Child Payment is one of these, but we must go further and listen to organisations like the Joseph Rowntree Foundation when they tell us that doubling it doesn’t go far enough. Children will be trapped in poverty, that is simply unacceptable and we must be much bolder.
“Alba want to increase the Scottish Child Payment to £40 to radically reduce child poverty in Scotland and to aid the ultimate goal of its eradication. This uplift would be a step change in reducing poverty in Scotland.”
But the former first minister insisted that only the powers granted to Scotland through independence would give the Scottish Government the ability to end child poverty.
“With the powers of independence we would not be hostage to a UK Government decision to cut Universal Credit for nearly 500,000 people in Scotland, but right now we can use the powers our Scottish Parliament does have to raise the Scottish Child payment to £40 so that the fortune of Scotland’s children isn’t left in the hands of Westminster,” he said.
“It is clear that political parties see reducing child poverty as a priority therefore the existing resources of the Scottish Parliament should be used to immediately double the Scottish Child Payment but we must go further and completely eradicate child poverty within the course of the new parliament.
“That will require the financial levers of recovery to be immediately devolved to the Scottish Parliament so that Scotland’s recovery is in Scotland’s hands.”