Poverty and Inequality Commission present recommendations to support families affected by poverty in school holidays

Date: 4th December 2018
Category: Child poverty


In their recommendations to Scottish Government, the Poverty and Inequality Commission highlight the pressures faced by children and families living in poverty across Scotland during school holidays.  As emphasised recently the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights following his 10-day visit to the UK, poverty is fundamentally a human rights violation and children are amongst those disproportionately impacted. As outlined in the Poverty and Inequality Commission’s new briefing, families face a range of pressures during the school holidays. These include food insecurity and childcare, but also relate to wider finances, play and activities, parenting, and social isolation. Such pressures have the strong potential to significantly compromise children’s rights to an adequate standard of living, care and play, to name a few, as outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Poverty and Inequality Commission was asked by the Scottish Government to consider whether there were actions in Every Child, Every Chance: The Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2018-2022 that should be developed in tandem in order to maximise their effectiveness.  The Commission was asked to consider the role of local authorities, social enterprise and the third sector in providing after school and holiday care and responding to school holiday insecurity.

To explore these issues, Commissioners visited several holiday projects and met with a number of voluntary organisations, local authority and COSLA officials, Scottish Government officials and other policy experts.

In this briefing, the Commission outlines three primary recommendations to Scottish Government in relation to holiday provision:

·         Recommendation 1: The Scottish Government should introduce an additional cash benefit during school holiday periods in recognition of the additional costs that families face. The amount should be set at a level that at least matches the equivalent costs of school meals.

·         Recommendation 2: The Scottish Government, COSLA and local authorities should work together to take a strategic approach to developing and funding a coordinated package of school holiday support that addresses the full range of pressures faced by families with low incomes. 

·         Recommendation 3: Building from existing services, holiday club provision, with nutritious and culturally appropriate food as a core element, should be available for all children from low income families. 

Read the briefing here.