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Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill: children's rights and wellbeing impact assessment

Published: 14 Feb 2017

Scottish Government's assessment of the impacts on children's rights and wellbeing of the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill.

23 page PDF

482.9kB

23 page PDF

482.9kB

Contents
Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill: children's rights and wellbeing impact assessment
Final CRWIA - Web publication of Bill CRWIA

23 page PDF

482.9kB

Final CRWIA - Web publication of Bill CRWIA

CRWIA title

Date of publication

Executive Summary

The Scottish Government is proposing for a Child Poverty Bill, which:

  • Sets out four statutory income targets.
  • Places a duty on Scottish Ministers to publish Child Poverty Delivery Plans, with the first plan covering the 3 year period from 1 April 2018 and two further plans each covering a 5 year period, and to report on those Plans annually.
  • Places a duty on local authorities and health boards to report annually on activity they are taking to reduce child poverty.

Background

In July 2015, the UK Government announced their intention to repeal significant proportions of the Child Poverty Act 2010 via the Welfare Reform and Work Bill. They proposed to replace the four income-based targets with measures on worklessness and educational attainment; to remove the child poverty aspects of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission's remit; and to rename the legislation the 'Life Chances Act'.

Scottish Ministers fundamentally disagreed with this approach; in particular, the removal of targets, and the use of alternative measures that do not take income into account. In the Scottish Government's view, this represents a shift towards characterising poverty as a lifestyle choice rather than addressing the social and economic drivers that cause people to fall into or remain in poverty.

The Scottish Government therefore requested an opt-out from the UK Government's approach and worked to bring forward amendments to the Bill repealing all parts of the 2010 Act that imposed any duty on Scottish Ministers, and sought legislative consent from the Scottish Parliament. The UK Government's Welfare Reform and Work Bill was passed with the requested amendments in March 2016, meaning that the Scottish Government is in a position to bring forward proposals for a Scottish approach to tackling and measuring child poverty.

The Scottish Government has proposed that the key purpose of the Child Poverty Bill will be to set ambitious targets for the reduction of child poverty levels and to establish a robust framework for measuring and reporting on child povetry at a national and local level.

Scope of the CRWIA

A CRWIA is required so that the impact of the Child Poverty Bill can be assessed over time.

Children and young people's views and experiences

The Scottish Youth Parliament ( SYP) consulted with young people on the topic of child poverty in Scotland, based on the proposals set out in the consultation document. The Scottish Youth Parliament staff team facilitated two small group discussions with groups made up of 15 young people between the ages of 14 and 25, with mixed experiences of poverty.

The young people consulted by the Scottish Youth Parliament broadly agreed that the government should set a target for addressing or targeting poverty; however some people were sceptical about using the words "eradicating" or "ending" poverty "It's too unreachable to aim to eradicate poverty.".

The young people consulted also felt that "This needs to come with a real action plan and not be tokenistic" and "If you do have targets it has to be backed up by appropriate resources"

The young people consulted also considered income to be the most important priority determining degrees of poverty: "money - it controls so much of what you do - it all comes down to that", and agreed that income is important when measuring poverty

Key Findings

In 2014/15, 220,000 (22%) children in Scotland were living in relative poverty After Housing Costs ( AHC) [6] , unchanged from the previous year. [7]

120,000 (12%) children in Scotland were living in combined low income and material deprivation AHC [8] , 20,000 fewer than the previous year.

200,000 (21%) children were living in absolute poverty AHC [9] in Scotland, 20,000 fewer than the previous year.

From the above it is a fair estimate to assume that approximately 220,000 children will be affected by this new Bill when it becomes law.

The IFS have stated on a UK level "Between 2015-16 and 2020-21, absolute child poverty [ BHC] is projected to rise sharply, from 15.1% to 18.3%. This rise is entirely explained by planned cuts to benefits, which are projected to have a particularly large impact on child poverty rates in large families. We also project a large increase in relative child poverty [ BHC], from 17.8% in 2015-16 to 25.7% in 2020-21, also driven by large families." [10]

In-work poverty has been increasing steadily and is now the highest rate since reporting began in 1994/95, both before and after housing costs.

While the overall number of children living in relative poverty BHC has fallen over recent years, a greater proportion were living in working households. The fact that 110 thousand children remained in in-work poverty BHC in 2014/15, despite the overall number falling over time, means they make up a larger percentage of those in poverty BHC.

The increase in in-work poverty reflects increases in the number of working households, and the decrease in the number of workless households in Scotland. However, increases in part-time employment, especially for women, combined with withdrawal of benefit income as earnings increase, mean that the majority of working age adults and children in poverty were in working households in 2014/15.

These trends demonstrate that further and cohesive action must be taken to tackle child poverty and that including in statute targets to reduce poverty amongst children will be a key driver to success.

During 2013 and early 2014, we discussed our strategic approach with the Ministerial Advisory Group on Child Poverty (Ministerial Advisory Group) and a full range of stakeholders from across Scotland, as well as colleagues across the Scottish Government. Feedback from those discussions elicited broad support for a strategic approach. A number of areas were identified as priorities for future work across a variety of policy areas including early years, education, employability and financial capability. There were also widespread calls for more robust reporting of the range of activity contributing to tackling child poverty in Scotland and of the impact of this activity.

The Child Poverty Bill will be implemented in a way which complements children's rights under the UNCRC, specifically the following articles:

  • Article 2: Non-discrimination
  • Article 3: Best interests of the child
  • Article 4: Protection of rights
  • Article 6: Life, survival and development
  • Article 12: Respect for the views of the child
  • Article 24: Health and health services
  • Article 26: Benefit from Social Security
  • Article 27: Adequate Standard of Living
  • Article 31: Engage in Play & Recreational Activities

The following children's wellbeing indicators will be enhanced as a result of the Child Poverty Bill: Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included

Conclusions and Recommendations

The Child Poverty Bill will have a positive impact on children and young people in Scotland including those living in poverty.

The Child Poverty Bill includes in statute targets to reduce the levels of Child Poverty across Scotland by 2030.

As a result of the CRWIA it is concluded that the Scottish

Government should proceed with the Child Poverty Bill because it will serve to focus the Scottish Government's efforts to tackle child poverty in Scotland and improve the life chances of Scotland's children and young people.

The Child Poverty Bill is compatible with, and complementary to the intentions of the UNCRC and meets the recommendations outlined.

Monitoring and review

Annual reports will be produced to document progress against the range of measures outlined in the Child Poverty Measurement Framework as well as against the statutory income targets and the Delivery Plans.

The proposed Poverty & Inequality Commission will play a key role in monitoring and reviewing Scottish Government achievements in line with the delivery plan and targets outlined.

Bill - Clause

Aims of measure

Likely to impact on . . .

Compliance with UNCRC requirements

Contribution to wellbeing indicators

Sets out four statutory income targets.

The 2030 targets are that on an After Housing Costs basis;

  • Fewer than 10% of children are in relative poverty
  • Fewer than 5% of children are in absolute poverty
  • Fewer than 5% of children are in combined low income and material deprivation
  • Fewer than 5% of children are in persistent poverty

The 220,000 children who in 2014/15 were living in poverty ( AHC).

  • Article 2: Non-discrimination
  • Article 3: Best interests of the child
  • Article 4: Protection of rights
  • Article 6: Life, survival and development
  • Article 12: Respect for the views of the child
  • Article 24: Health and health services
  • Article 26: Benefit from Social Security
  • Article 27: Adequate Standard of Living
  • Article 31: Engage in Play & Recreational Activities

Safe,

Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included

Places a duty on Scottish Ministers to publish Child Poverty Delivery Plans, with the first plan covering the 3 year period from 1 April 2018 and two further plans each covering a 5 year period, and to report on those Plans annually.

To galvanise action across the Scottish Government and partners to tackle poverty and inequality across Scotland.

The 220,000 children who in 2014/15 were living in poverty ( AHC).

  • Article 2: Non-discrimination
  • Article 3: Best interests of the child
  • Article 4: Protection of rights
  • Article 6: Life, survival and development
  • Article 12: Respect for the views of the child
  • Article 24: Health and health services
  • Article 26: Benefit from Social Security
  • Article 27: Adequate Standard of Living
  • Article 31: Engage in Play & Recreational Activities

Safe,

Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included

Places a duty on local authorities and health boards to report annually on activity they are taking to reduce child poverty.

To provide robust information on the poverty and inequality experienced at a local authority level.

1,042,597 children and young people in Scotland.

Based on the under 18 population by Scottish Council area - 2011 census.

N/A

N/A

CRWIA Declaration

CRWIA required

CRWIA not required

Yes

Authorisation

Policy lead

Gillian Cross, Policy Officer, Social Justice & Regeneration

Date

09 January 2017

Deputy Director or equivalent

Shirley Laing, Deputy Director, Social Justice & Regeneration

Date

09 January 2017


Contact

Email: Gillian Cross