Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill passed unanimously by MSPs

Date: 17th November 2017
Category: Child poverty

Campaigners have welcomed a unanimous vote by Scottish Parliament to introduce statutory targets to reduce child poverty.

MSPs passed the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act which requires Scottish Ministers to meet four income based child poverty targets by 2030 as well as set out and report on the actions they will take to meet those targets. Local authorities and NHS Health Boards will also have to produce local child poverty action reports.

The Act was introduced by the Scottish Government in response to the UK Government removing legislative commitments in the 2010 UK Child Poverty Act to eradicate child poverty by 2020.

John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group, said of the vote:

"This is a hugely welcome step in the fight to end child poverty in Scotland. We are delighted that in today's vote all the political parties at Holyrood have recognised that child poverty is unacceptable, that it is not inevitable and that it can be eradicated. The unanimous support for income based child poverty targets and for national delivery plans setting out the employment, social security, housing and childcare measures needed to end child poverty creates an important springboard for the action and investment that is now needed."

The four income-based targets that are set out in the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill are:

  • Less than 10% of children are in relative poverty;
  • Less than 5% of children are in absolute poverty;
  • Less than 5% of children are in combined low income and material deprivation;
  • Less than 5% of children are in persistent poverty.

Currently, more than one in four children in Scotland live in poverty.

Together's 2016 State of Children's Rights report addressed the issue of child poverty and recommended the introduction of statutory income-based targets. Together therefore welcomes this move by Scottish Parliament to eradicate child poverty by 2030.