New laws to improve life chances for every Scottish child.
Scotland is set to bring forward legislation to tackle the deep-rooted causes of child poverty for the first time in its history, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today.
The new Child Poverty Bill will to set out a new approach to tackling poverty and inequality and will provide a clear way forward for delivering the Government's ambition to eradicate child poverty.
The Scottish Government has previously rejected the UK Government's decision to abandon income-based child poverty targets, and is seeking to develop Scottish legislation after the UK Government repealed large parts of the existing UK-wide legislation.
The announcement came on the same day the First Minister announced she was re-appointing Naomi Eisenstadt as the Scottish Government's Independent Poverty Advisor for another 12 months.
A consultation setting out proposals for the Bill will be published over the summer, building on the existing work from our well-established Child Poverty Strategy.
Speaking during a visit to the Prince's Trust earlier today, the First Minister said:
"It is simply unacceptable that children are growing up in poverty and we must do all we can to tackle the inequality that still exists in 21st century Scotland.
"While we have made progress as a government through the Child Poverty Strategy, it's clear from feedback from my Independent Poverty Advisor, Naomi Eisenstadt, and others that we must keep striving to do more and we need to do more to enshrine our distinctly Scottish approach in law.
"The consultation and Bill will allow us to refine our approach and ensure it best meets the needs of those who so desperately need it and I am delighted to announce it on the same day as I announce Naomi's reappointment. Her work has provided hugely valuable insight into our proposals in tackling inequality and given the Scottish Government a clear focus for going forward.
"By repealing large parts of the Child Poverty Act 2010, including the income-based child poverty targets, the UK Government has signalled that they do not see child poverty and the incomes of poor families as priorities. That is fundamentally wrong. With the introduction of this new legislation, the Scottish Government is sending the message, in the strongest possible terms, that we profoundly disagree.
"We will be working closely with Naomi and others, including our Ministerial Advisory Group on Child Poverty, to develop our proposals, reflecting the importance we continue to place on this challenge of protecting the most vulnerable in society."
Naomi Eisenstadt, the Independent Poverty Advisor, said:
"Everyone in Scotland has a role to play in helping to eradicate child poverty, and a new Child Poverty Bill is a positive, practical and constructive step forward which will place in statute Scotland's welcome commitment to tackling child poverty.
"This legislation will maximise the chances that all people living in Scotland lead productive and healthy lives. We need to stop the cycle of poverty and prevent the next generation of young people being born into poverty."
Ryan Horner, 22, Drumchapel, Prince's Trust supported young person said:
"I left school with no qualifications and didn't know what I was doing with my life. It was thanks to the Prince's Trust that I began to build my confidence, motivation and skills. After completing the programme I moved onto another Trust course and secured a full-time job.
I'm now working at The Trust as a Job Ambassador in Glasgow which means working with young people every day and helping them get into training and employment. Every day I see firsthand the different issues young people are facing, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to share some of these experiences with the First Minister today."
More information on The Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland 2014-17 can be found at http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0044/00445863.pdf