Scotland has new child poverty reduction targets

Category: Child poverty

27th November 2017

Scotland is to become the only part of the UK with statutory targets to tackle child poverty after the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill was unanimously passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill sets out four statutory goals which the government is expected to hit by 2030.

It was brought forward in response to the repeal of sections of the UK Child Poverty Act, to reinstate the use of a set of income-based targets.

The Bill will:
- Set in statute targets to reduce child poverty by 2030.
- Place a duty on ministers to publish child poverty delivery plans at regular intervals and to report on progress annually.
- Place a duty on local authorities and health boards to report annually on what they are doing to contribute to reducing child poverty.
- Establish a Poverty and Inequality Commission.

The legislation means that in the financial year starting in April 2030, the government has a statutory obligation to have achieved:

  • Less than 10% of children living in households that are in relative poverty - currently 22%
  • Less than 5% of children living in households that are in absolute poverty - currently 21%
  • Less than 5% of children living in households that combine low income and material deprivation - currently 12%
  • Less than 5% of children living in households that are persistent poverty.

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said:

"With one in four children living in poverty, we need to take urgent action - both to help those children who are living in poverty now, and to prevent future generations of children growing up in poverty.

"We have already announced a Tackling Child Poverty Fund worth £50 million. This Bill will go even further and see statutory targets to reduce and ultimately eradicate child poverty. This is in stark contrast to the action being taken by the UK Government, which has abolished its child poverty unit and child poverty targets.

"Meeting our ambitious new targets will be challenging and it will seem like we are often fighting with one hand behind our back in the face of the cuts, which are set to increase child poverty across the UK by around one million children. But the Scottish Government intends to take positive action to address child poverty and tackle the deep seated generational inequalities in our society.

"We want to work with local authorities, health boards and the third sector to ensure that in our modern, thriving country, children should have the best possible start in life."

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