Holyrood vote "hugely welcome step in fight to end child poverty," say campaigners

8 November 2017

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland today (8/11/17) welcomed a unanimous Scottish Parliament vote putting ambitious targets to eradicate child poverty in law.

The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 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. For the first time local authorities and health boards in Scotland will also have a duty to produce local child poverty action reports.

Responding to the vote, John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland said:

 "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 Child Poverty (Scotland) Act was introduced by the Scottish Government after the UK Government dismantled the 2010 UK Child Poverty Act in 2016. The Welfare Reform and Work Act removed legislative commitments and targets to eradicate child poverty by 2020 as well as abolishing UK and Scottish Government duties to produce child poverty strategies.

Mr Dickie continued;

"Eradicating child poverty will require action at UK level as well as by national and local government here in Scotland. Politicians at Holyrood have sent a powerful message that ending child poverty has to be a top priority. It’s now vital that their UK counterparts reinstate the child poverty targets and duties that are needed to drive progress at UK level. With the latest analysis from CPAG and the IPPR showing a further million children are being pushed into poverty there really is no time to lose."

ENDS

For more information contact John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland, jdickie@cpagscotland.org.uk

Child Poverty Action Group works on behalf of the one in four children in Scotland growing up in poverty. It doesn’t have to be like this. We use our understanding of what causes poverty and the impact it has on children’s lives to campaign for policies that will prevent and solve poverty – for good. We are leading expert providers of second tier social security advice, information and training.

Notes

1. The Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill sets out four income-based targets to be achieved by 2030:

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

2. CPAG in Scotland’s call for a Scottish Child Poverty Act was top of the list of priorities included in our pre-election 'Programme for Scottish Government' – see http://www.cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/CPAG-Scotland-Programme-Scot-... . The Act is supported by Barnardo’s Scotland, Oxfam Scotland, Save the Children, Poverty Alliance, One Parent Families Scotland and other members of the End Child Poverty coalition in Scotland.

3. More than one in four (260,000) of Scotland’s children live in poverty. And unless we act now, things will get worse.

4. Modelling and analysis published this week (6/11/17) by CPAG and the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) reveals that UK cuts to Universal Credit (UC) will put 1 million more children into poverty see http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/austerity-generation-promise-greater-rewa...

5. The effects of poverty are real and significant. When children grow up poor they miss out. They miss out on the things most children take for granted: warm clothes, school trips, having friends over for tea. They too often do less well at school and earn less as adults.

6. As well as damaging children and families, poverty is a costly problem. Independent research commissioned by CPAG estimates that child poverty costs the UK at least £29 billion a year in extra pressure on public services that deal with the effects of poverty and, in the longer term, wasted economic potential.