Setting clear targets and establishing a National Poverty and Inequality Commission would help to meet aims of eradicating child poverty, says the Law Society of Scotland.
The Law Society has said in a briefing paper on the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill that setting clear aims would be required to measure progress and identify problems to help ensure that Scotland can meet its ambition of eradicating child poverty by 2030.
However, the Society has said that while having a requirement for Scottish ministers to develop and produce delivery plans along with annual progress reports to provide scrutiny and oversight, it has concerns that these measures alone would not secure the success of the Bill’s aims.
Morag Driscoll, Convener of the Law Society’s Family Law Committee, said: “We fully support efforts to eradicate child poverty in Scotland. Bringing forward the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill will help to increase the profile of this issue and encourage debate on how best to address an issue which affects thousands of children across Scotland.
“Having legislation would mean action taken by the Scottish Government, local authorities and local health boards could be better monitored and would help to highlight any lack of progress made, which should help to prevent stagnation and keep the issue of child poverty to the forefront.
“We think setting up an independent National Poverty and Inequality Commission in Scotland is a good idea as it would provide oversight and scrutiny of progress made in relation to the aims within the Bill. There is very little detail at the moment about how it might operate and we’d be keen for more information on how such an organisation would work in practice. It’s also right that local councils and health boards should be involved, as outlined in the Bill, and we believe they should also be required to develop a detailed plan and approach that could then be measured against an annual report rather than requiring an annual report alone.
“However, while there is much to applaud in the aims of the Bill, it is not clear what the consequences, if any, would be if the targets are not met and we question whether the Bill in its current form could actually be enforced.”
The full response can be read on the Law Society's website. Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill briefing