Creating a Fairer Scotland is one of our top priorities as a Government. Our Fairer Scotland Action Plan, which was published on 5 October, sets out 50 actions that we will take to help us achieve that vision. Bringing forward a Child Poverty Bill for Scotland is one of those actions.
We know that tackling the deep-seated inequalities and poverty in our society is challenging - we only have to look at the figures to see that. In Scotland in 2014-15, poverty affected 940,000 people, after housing costs. That figure includes 220,000 children. It is simply wrong that more than one in five of our children are living in poverty.
That's why we profoundly disagreed with the UK Government's decision to repeal the income targets that were set out in the UK-wide Child Poverty Act 2010. There is widespread agreement that, more than anything else, poverty is about income. I will therefore bring forward a Child Poverty Bill for Scotland in this Parliamentary year. Over the summer we consulted on the Bill, seeking views on proposals to enshrine in legislation our clear ambition to eradicate child poverty, underpinned by statutory income-based targets, a robust Delivery Plan and annual reporting. Our new Bill will establish Scotland as the only part of the UK with statutory income targets on child poverty.
This report sets out the most recent statistics on child poverty, and details our progress against the measurement framework that we introduced in our 2014 Child Poverty Annual Report. I am clear that any new annual reporting arrangements that we bring forward in the Bill should build on this robust and innovative framework. In the meantime, I am absolutely clear that we need to maintain a strong evidence base, and I think that this report provides us with a clear picture of child poverty in Scotland in 2016 - a picture that will be the starting point for discussions on the Bill going forward.
Cabinet Secretary for Communities,
Social Security and Equalities
Email: Alison Stout