8. Additional comments
Finally, respondents were provided with the opportunity to add any further comments they wished to their response. Several mentioned again that they welcomed the focus on child poverty. A few noted areas that they felt required further clarity, including: the process and timetable for the Delivery Plan; what new measures and/or funding would support the Delivery Plan, and more detailed information on practical interventions; who is included in 'Team Scotland' and the role of local authorities; and the definition of 'children'.
A number of respondents used this space to re-emphasise issues they consider particularly important to tackling child poverty, including: education; the economy, jobs and skills; gender pay gap; access to childcare; rurality; affordable transport; fuel poverty; place; mental health; welfare; wellbeing of parents. The importance of taking into account the views of families, children and young people experiencing poverty, and understanding the impact and extent of poverty in different groups (particularly relating to ethnicity, gender and disability) were also emphasised again.
Action on Smoking and Health ( ASH) Scotland, who provided their response as a separate document, argued that any poverty strategy 'must deal with tobacco use', underlining that:
"Poverty and tobacco go hand-in-hand. Smoking is not a root cause of poverty, but it exacerbates poverty and inequality and is a crucial mechanism through which inequality translates into harm." (Ash Scotland)
The Royal Town Planning Institute ( RTPI) Scotland highlight the importance of place-based policies:
"The built environment can have a profound effect on people's behaviours and opportunities. Alongside conventional 'people-based' welfare policies, a much stronger focus on coordinating place-based strategies and activities could do much to reduce poverty, inequality and the social problems that stem from them." ( RTPI Scotland)
They also point out opportunities to do this: the affordable homes commitment, city deals, Community Planning Partnerships and local development plans.
The Scottish Youth Parliament's consultation with young people asked their views more broadly on the causes of poverty and ideas on how child poverty should be tackled. The discussions highlighted education, particularly the costs of education and differences in expectations; family background, including access to role models; the impact of poor health and disability; and living in a low income or rural area as factors contributing to poverty. Lack of employment opportunities, low wages and zero hour contracts; variation in the quality of educational experiences and lack of resources and support; stigma towards those living in poverty; and lack of aspiration, were considered to be barriers to getting out of poverty. The main priorities the young people identified for tackling poverty were: increasing the living wage for all ages; increasing voting in young people; increasing knowledge and awareness of poverty among young people; consulting young people in decision-making; and addressing and closing the attainment gap.
Many respondents used this opportunity to comment on proposed or existing policies and approaches to help tackle child poverty. These covered a wide range of areas including: early learning and childcare provision; the Best Start Grant; Free School Meals and the cost of education; the use of new social security powers, a suggested single rate top up to child benefit, and income maximisation and welfare rights checks; the role of the social rental sector in alleviating poverty; reducing the number of people going to prison; child maintenance systems; the impact of domestic abuse; and rights-based approaches.