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Child poverty

Around one in four children in Scotland lives in poverty, according to research ('Poverty and income inequality in Scotland: 2015-2016').

We find this figure unacceptable, especially in a modern, thriving country like ours. That is why we are working hard to reduce child poverty.

Child Poverty Bill

In February 2017 we introduced the Child Poverty Bill to the Scottish Parliament, which sets out targets to reduce the number of children experiencing the effects of poverty by 2030. Introducing statutory targets:

  • will help focus efforts in the areas that need it most
  • helps monitor progress
  • is in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

The targets state that, of children living in Scottish households:

  • less than 10% should be living in relative poverty (how many families are on low incomes compared with middle income households)
  • less than 5% should be living in absolute poverty (how many low income families are not seeing their living standards improving over time)
  • less than 5% should be living with combined low income and material deprivation (how many lower income families cannot afford basic necessities)
  • less than 5% should be living in persistent poverty (how many families live on low incomes three years out of four)

The Bill outlines our plans to publish child poverty delivery plans at regular intervals, with annual reports to measure progress.

Local authorities and health boards will also be required to jointly publish annual reports on what they are doing to reduce child poverty in the local area.

The Bill is currently progressing through Scottish Parliament, and we expect it to take effect later in 2017.

Tackling child poverty as part of a wider strategy

The Child Poverty Bill is part of the Fairer Scotland Action Plan, which sets our overall strategy for tackling poverty and inequality in Scotland.

The core principles of the Bill are further strengthened by the:

They are all designed to ensure that children's interests and rights are placed at the centre of our policy considerations.

Further information

We regularly publish: