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Consultation on ending child poverty

Published: 8 Aug 2016 12:00

Low income families ‘a priority.’

The Scottish Government's vision for ending child poverty in Scotland took a step forward today.

The Child Poverty Bill consultation was launched this morning. The Bill, which will be introduced next year, will build on the Scottish Government's existing work, and will form part of our overall approach to tackling poverty and inequality in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has a clear ambition to eradicate child poverty and this Bill will set the framework for making progress towards this goal.

These next steps will build on the range of work the Scottish Government already has underway to tackle poverty and inequality, for example:

  • our commitment to promoting the Living Wage
  • free school meals
  • expansion of funded early learning and childcare
  • the Scottish Attainment Challenge: support by the Attainment Scotland Fund (£750 million over this parliamentary session)
  • new duties to tackle inequalities of educational outcome experienced by pupils as a result of socio-economic disadvantage

The consultation was launched in Dundee today where the Cabinet Secretary for Equalities Angela Constance visited a Summer Family Fun & Food Programme which aims to tackle the free school meals gap out of term time by providing a range of activities and lunch for families in Dundee. They are aiming to supply 20,000 meals over the summer.

Ms Constance said:

"This Government has vowed to take action to tackle child poverty and we have already done a lot of work in this area but we want to go further.

"We've promised children a better start in life and more opportunities as they grow up; we've offered parents more and better-paid jobs and greater security in which to bring up their families; and we are committed to tackling deep-seated inequalities, especially in education and health.

"This isn't only a job for Government. The ambition to tackle child poverty must be shared across the whole of Scotland. I want to talk about how we can work together with local governments, businesses and the third sector, but most importantly with people who experience poverty.

"Around one in five children live in poverty in Scotland. This is simply unacceptable in a modern, thriving country like ours. I want to be absolutely clear that we are serious about our ambition to eradicate child poverty, and I want to work together with partners across Scotland to make that ambition a reality.

"It was great to see some of the vital work going on in Dundee this morning but there is much more to be done. With many people affected by poverty I would like to hear from a wide range of people and organisations in this consultation.

"With this consultation we are showing that we see child poverty and low income families as a priority. We will continue to strive towards equality of opportunity for everyone in Scotland and ending the cycle of poverty once and for all."

Notes to editors

https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/social-justice/consultation-on-a-child-poverty-bill-for-scotland

The consultation asks for comments on our proposals to introduce four statutory income targets:

  • Fewer than 10% of children live in relative child poverty, after housing costs (AHC) by 2030
  • Fewer than 5% of children live in absolute child poverty, AHC, by 2030
  • Fewer than 5% of children live in low income and material deprivation, AHC, by 2030 and
  • Fewer than 5% of children live in persistent poverty, AHC, by 2030

The proposal to set targets on an AHC basis – i.e. taking housing costs into account – means that the targets are significantly more ambitious than the original income targets scrapped by the current UK Government.

The consultation also asks whether there are additional or alternative measures of poverty we should consider; and how particular elements of our approach – including our existing measurement framework and advisory structure - could be strengthened.