Progress in tackling child poverty
It is estimated that 90,000 fewer children will live in relative and absolute poverty this year as a result of Scottish Government policies.
The Scottish Government analysis is published alongside the first annual report on its Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan ‘Best Start, Bright Futures’.
The report sets out progress made on the four year plan, including that an estimated £3.03 billion was invested across a range of programmes targeted at low income households in 2022-23, with £1.25 billion directly benefiting children. These figures represent an increase of £430 million and £150 million respectively, compared with 2021-22. As a result of that spending, poverty levels this year will be nine percentage points lower than they would have otherwise been.
The report also details key actions to help households and address the three main drivers of poverty - income from employment, cost of living and income from social security and benefits. These include almost £83 million to help deliver employability support, introducing a rent cap to help protect tenants during the cost of living crisis and providing over £84 million to support housing costs, while increasing the Scottish Child Payment by 150% and expanding it to all eligible children under 16.
Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“The report demonstrates that we are preventing children falling into poverty and lifting people out of it. This year, 90,000 fewer children will live in poverty as a result of the concerted actions and focus we are providing, including lifting an estimated 50,000 children lifted out of hardship through the Scottish Child Payment.
“We are focused on driving forward action at the pace and scale required and the investment of around £3 billion in a range of programmes, with £1.25 billion directly benefiting children, demonstrates our commitment to taking action.
“By March this year, 303,000 children were receiving the Scottish Child Payment. Having increased the payment by 150% and by extending it to eligible children under 16, we are providing vital financial support to families worth £1300 a year.
“At the First Minister’s Anti-Poverty Summit in May our stakeholders, partners and people who have experienced poverty backed the approach we are taking. We will continue to do everything we can within the scope of our limited powers and fixed budget to help give more children the start in life they deserve. But it is only with the full economic and fiscal powers of an independent nation that Ministers can use all levers other governments have to tackle poverty and inequalities.”
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