Scottish Government publishes child poverty progress report
Date: 15th July 2019
Category: Child poverty
The Scottish Government has published its first annual progress report under the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017.
The report follows last year’s Every Child, Every Chance Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan which outlined a range of actions aimed at making progress against child poverty targets and was backed by a £50m fund.
The progress report sets out actions taken in 2018-19, including:
- A new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby payment - a payment of £600 on the birth of the first child and £300 for subsequent children for low income families.
- An increase in the minimum level of School Clothing Grants to £100 for each eligible child.
- Financial Health Check service – enabling low income families to access personalised advice on money matters, such as reducing household energy costs and accessing benefits.
- Carer’s Allowance Supplement, a payment of £442 in 2018-19. Future improvements are to include a Young Carer Grant.
- Fair Start Scotland employability programme
- A new Innovation Fund, in partnership with the Hunter Foundation, supporting eight new projects in 2018-19 with the aim of reducing child poverty.
The report also set out focus areas for 2019-20, including bringing forward the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment for children under six years old (previously not due to be introduced until 2022). In the week before the announcement, 70 leaders and organisations from across Scotland had joined together to call for the introduction of a new income supplement to tackle child poverty.
Welcoming the announcement Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, said:
“I’m pleased to see the announcement today that the introduction of the Scottish Child Payment, at £10 a week, will be brought forward for children under 6.
Child poverty is the most significant human rights issue facing children in Scotland. Living in poverty affects every aspect of a child's life, including their educational attainment and mental and physical health.
At present, almost a quarter of children in Scotland are living in poverty and that requires a number of urgent legislative and policy measures to alleviate and eradicate it. This includes the incorporation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children in Scots law”