A consultation on a proposed statutory framework tackling child poverty in Scotland was launched today, ahead of planned Scottish Government legislation to be introduced next year.
The move forms part of the Government's overall approach to tackling poverty and inequality in Scotland. Ministers have stated their ambition to eradicate child poverty; measures have already been adopted that are aimed at supporting low-income families and providing additional educational support.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has also reappointed Naomi Eisenstadt as the Scottish Government’s Independent Poverty Adviser for another 12 months.
The new paper focuses on appropriate measures of child poverty and the desirability of statutory targets. The consultation asks for comments on proposals to introduce four statutory income targets:
- Fewer than 10% of children live in relative child poverty, after housing costs (AHC) by 2030
- Fewer than 5% of children live in absolute child poverty, AHC, by 2030
- Fewer than 5% of children live in low income and material deprivation, AHC, by 2030; and
- Fewer than 5% of children live in persistent poverty, AHC, by 2030.
The proposal to set targets on an AHC basis – i.e. taking housing costs into account – means that the targets are significantly more ambitious than the original income targets scrapped by the current UK Government.
It is also proposed that ministers be required to produce a Child Poverty Delivery Plan every five years, and report on the plan every year.
Speaking at the launch, Cabinet Secretary for Equalities Angela Constance said: “This isn’t only a job for Government. The ambition to tackle child poverty must be shared across the whole of Scotland. I want to talk about how we can work together with local governments, businesses and the third sector, but most importantly with people who experience poverty.
“Around one in five children live in poverty in Scotland. This is simply unacceptable in a modern, thriving country like ours. I want to be absolutely clear that we are serious about our ambition to eradicate child poverty, and I want to work together with partners across Scotland to make that ambition a reality."
The consultation also asks whether there are additional or alternative measures of poverty we should consider; and how particular elements of our approach – including our existing measurement framework and advisory structure - could be strengthened.
Click here to access the consultation. The deadline for responses is 30 September 2016.