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A Fairer Scotland

Published: 23 Nov 2017 09:35

First progress report of Fairer Scotland Action Plan.

Public sector bodies now have a duty to consider what more they can do to reduce poverty and inequality when making key decisions.

The Fairer Scotland Duty, the first action in the Fairer Scotland Action Plan and the first of its kind in the UK, comes into force in April 2018.  Public sector bodies including the Scottish Government, NHS and local authorities, will all have a duty to tackle social and economic disadvantage in local areas.  

Actions that have been completed include:

  • The ambitious Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill unanimously passed by Parliament
  • Establishing a National Poverty and Inequality Commission
  • Establishing a £29 million fund dedicated to tackling poverty
  • Delivering the first baby boxes of basic essentials
  • Funding two new organisations in Dundee and North Ayrshire to help people with direct experience of poverty speak out to improve public services

A year since the publication of the Fairer Scotland Action Plan, Equalities Secretary Angela Constance launched the first progress report at WorkingRite, an Edinburgh organisation that received support from the £29 million fund to tackle poverty.

Ms Constance said: 

“Our Fairer Scotland Action Plan features 50 concrete actions to tackle poverty and inequality. One year on, we have made considerable progress but we are not complacent, which is why we have identified additional actions including a new £50 million fund to tackle child poverty.

“Public bodies already do a huge amount to reduce inequalities, but we must all work together to do more and make a difference. We are now the first country in the UK which will ensure all our public bodies consider how our big decisions help tackle poverty.

“Tackling inequalities will never be an optional extra for this government – it is core to everything we do – to make Scotland a fairer, more equal country.”

Jim McCormick, JRF Associate Director in Scotland commented,

“By prioritising poverty reduction in the Fairer Scotland Action Plan, the Scottish Government has shown that it is committed to addressing the needs of those struggling to make ends meet. There is much more to be done but a promising start has been made."

Background

Fairer Scotland Action Plan

The socio-economic duty [Fairer Scotland Duty] asks particular public authorities to do more to tackle the inequalities caused by socio-economic disadvantage. In particular, the duty aims to make sure that strategic decisions about the most important issues are carefully thought through so they are as effective as they can be in tackling socio-economic disadvantage and reducing inequalities.

The introduction of a socio-economic duty was included in the UK Government’s Equality Act 2010 but has not been implemented.