THE Scottish Government has been urged to provide an extra £100 a month for young parents penalised by Tory benefit rules.

One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS) says adding an uplift to the Scottish Child Payment for low-income young families would help tackle “staggering rates of hardship”.

Parents under 25, due to Tory Government rules, get less support through Universal Credit due to their age, a policy brought in in 2013 under former prime minister David Cameron.

READ MORE: Queen will appoint new UK prime minister at Balmoral for first time ever

The charity estimates couples are around £100 worse off each month compared to the previous benefits system, with single parents left with £65 a month less.

OPFS have called for the benefits penalty to be axed but called on the Scottish Government to step in.

The Scottish Child Payment currently provides £20 per week per child for all children under six, with the welfare payment set to be extended to under 16s and upped to £25 by the end of the year.

The charity is calling for an enhanced rate to be created for young parents.

The National: The young parent penalty was brought in while David Cameron was prime ministerThe young parent penalty was brought in while David Cameron was prime minister

Satwat Rehman, OPFS chief executive, said: “We know from our work with young parents that daily struggles over meeting living costs can make parenting harder and can have long-term effects on the wellbeing of both children and parents.

“We want to see the Westminster Government reverse the unjust young parent penalty to reflect the costs of raising a child and equalise the equal National Living Wage for those under 23.

“In the meantime, we are calling on the Scottish Government to act urgently to mitigate this inequality and address the dire situation facing young families by providing a ‘top up’ through the SCP to all households impacted by the young parent penalty. Children in poverty can’t afford to wait.

“At a minimum, this payment should bring young parent families’ support through social security in line with that provided to parents aged 25 and over.”

READ MORE: Pro-independence group launched by LibDem member and former 'hard-line Unionist'

Ed Pybus, of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said: “It is not right but not surprising that young parents are more likely to be in poverty.

“The social security system penalises them and they face lower wages and greater barriers to employment. That’s why the UK Government must immediately end the under 25 penalty in Universal Credit by paying parents under 25 the same rate as other working-age adults.

“We urge Holyrood ministers to explore how they can use their social security powers to mitigate the under 25 penalty, and to do more to ensure young parents have the childcare they need to access the education and job opportunities available to them.”

The National: Cameron introduced the penalty on young parents in 2013Cameron introduced the penalty on young parents in 2013

A report by the government on child poverty within families with young parents aged under 25 found that 54% of children with young mum’s live in relative poverty, and 49% live in absolute poverty. This is more than double the rate for all children in Scotland.

The charity supported the Scottish Government’s research into young families by enabling young mums from its local services in Glasgow and Lanarkshire to share their experiences.

Emma*, a young mum from North Lanarkshire who took part in the research, said: “Once all my bills are paid, I find it hard to afford food and I make sure my child gets food first and I get whatever is left.

“My child is young, and a huge amount of money goes on baby milk as it’s so expensive and runs out really quickly, but he needs to have it. An extra £66 per month would take the baby milk money worry away.”

READ MORE: Lord David Frost tipped for senior role in Liz Truss's government

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We agree that Universal Credit should be paid at the same amount no matter the age of the person applying. This would help many people and families who are facing hardship due to this age discrimination that the UK Government has introduced.

“This is in contrast to the significant support the Scottish Government is supplying to all low-income parents.

“By the end of 2022, the Scottish Government’s package of five family payments will be worth over £10,000 for eligible families on the lowest incomes by the time their first child turns 6 – and £9700 for subsequent children.

“This includes the Scottish Child Payment, which we doubled to £20 per child per week in April and will increase again to £25 when we extend it to under 16s by the end of the year – a 150% rise.”