COVID-19: Local authorities and health boards to consider the impact of pandemic on child poverty

Date: 10th July 2020
Category: Child poverty


Improvement Service has developed a short paper considering the impact of COVID-19 on child poverty and how local authorities and health boards can use Local Child Poverty Action Reports to address the challenges that lie ahead.

The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 places a duty on local authorities and regional health boards to produce annual Local Child Poverty Action Reports (LCPARs) describing ongoing and planned action to tackle child poverty at local level.

The key messages within the report are:

  • Children already living in poverty are likely to experience a greater impact of COVID-19, with potential for child poverty to become more ingrained. For already vulnerable families, the situation is likely to further compound family stress and trauma.
  • The number of children likely to experience poverty will increase as a result of either temporary or longer term loss of family income. This in turn will create additional demand on a range of public services including housing, childcare, rights and advice services.
  • Without concerted effort, the inequality between children with and without digital resources and other supports is likely to deepen.
  • Local bodies should prepare for more children becoming eligible for priority two places in nurseries and higher numbers eligible for clothing grants, free school meals and other supports targeted at children. There will also be increased demand from families for support from the Scottish Welfare Fund. It is important for local authorities to consider what more they can do to ensure families in need access the support available and make the best use of increased funding available to them to support families.
  • Local authorities should consider how the value of existing supports might be increased to help meet the additional pressures low income families are facing such as the school clothing grant and free school meals.
  • Local authorities and others should work to prioritise key activity which will enable and support economic recovery and ensure that the decisions they take are informed by the impact on children in or at risk of poverty.
  • Focusing on the key drivers of poverty and building on the work done to prepare the Local Child Poverty Action Report should support plans for preventing and mitigating the impact of higher levels of child poverty.

Read the paper here.