Report Card 18: “child poverty in the midst of wealth”

Date: 18th December 2023

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The UK ranks at the bottom of UNICEF Innocenti Report Card 18, a review of 43 countries’ child poverty status and their progress to eliminating child poverty.

The UNICEF Innocenti Report Card 18 reviews the status of child poverty in 43 high income and upper middle-income countries of the European Union (EU) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It provides data and assesses the progress – or lack of progress – that these countries have made towards eliminating child poverty. Countries at the bottom of the ranking include the United Kingdom, France, Türkiye and Colombia

The foundation of the report is a ranking of 39 countries in the EU and OECD based on their latest available rate of child income poverty and their success in reducing child income poverty over a period of general prosperity. The top ranked countries – those with the lowest rates of child income poverty combined with greatest success reducing child poverty – are Slovenia, Poland and Latvia.

Commenting on child poverty, Nicola Killean, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, said: 

“While UK Government holds many of the levers for social security, the Scottish Government has the power to do more for children. Concrete actions include ensuring families have access to affordable housing, increasing the Scottish Child Payment and reviewing criteria for other types of support, including free school meals, to ensure more children are eligible. 

“Governments – from the UK, to Scottish, to local government – must take a rights-based approach to tackling child poverty. Children’s voices and experiences must be acted upon. Child rights impact assessments should be used for Scottish and local government budgetary decisions so that it becomes clearer which decisions are failing to improve children’s lives.

“The UK and Scottish governments must immediately tackle child poverty.”