‘Progress welcome but critical that Ministers now ratchet up action on child poverty’

CPAG in Scotland response to Scottish Government’s Annual Report for Child Poverty

CPAG in Scotland has welcomed the Scottish Government’s latest annual report on Child Poverty but is calling for Ministers to now set out more clearly how current and future budgets and policies will target child poverty in an increasingly challenging climate.

The report, which the Scottish Government must publish each year, charts progress towards the eradication of child poverty by the year 2020. While this year’s report shows a 2% reduction in relative child poverty since 2011, massive increases in child poverty are forecast.

John Dickie, Head of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland said:

“Progress in reducing child poverty is welcome, as is the investment in the Scottish Welfare Fund, council tax support and income maximisation services described in today’s report. But with massive increases in child poverty now forecast as a result of UK tax and benefit policies it is absolutely critical that government in Scotland moves beyond describing existing policies and sets out how actions that can be shown to reduce child poverty are ratcheted up and rolled out across the whole country.

“Ministers need to demonstrate that policy and spending decisions across every arm of government, local and national, are contributing to reducing child poverty as well as be more ambitious in investing in policies, such as moving toward a more universal approach to free school meal entitlement, that they already recognise make an impact in both relieving pressure on hard pressed family budgets and improving children’s life chances”.

For further details please contact John Dickie, Head of CPAG in Scotland, on 0141 552 3656 or 07795 340 618

Notes to Editors

  • Official Scottish child poverty figures published for 2011/12 are available at http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2013/06/2493/downloads . “The percentage of children living in relative poverty fell from 17 per cent to 15 per cent between 2010/11 and 2011/12, this represents a reduction of 20 thousand children to 150 thousand children. This change is not statistically significant. This continues the decrease in the rate of relative child poverty in Scotland, with a decrease from 20 per cent in 2009/10 to 15 per cent in 2011/12. The percentage of children living in combined material deprivation and low income fell from 12 per cent to 8 per cent in 2011/12. This represents a reduction of 40 thousand children, to 80 thousand children. This change is statistically significant.”
  • Recent modelling (May 2013) by the Institute for Fiscal Studies forecasts that the proportion of children living in poverty in Scotland will increase from 2011/12 to 28.4% by 2020 (after housing costs - 22.7% before housing costs)(see www.ifs.org.uk/comms/r78.pdf table B2).
  • The decrease on the headline measure of relative low income may be linked to falling median earnings. This is because uprating of family benefits in line with rising prices until 2011/12 has to some extent protected low income families when earnings have been rising more slowly than prices. This protection has now been removed as a result of UK social security cuts and the 1% cap on benefit uprating leading in large part to the forecast explosion in child poverty referred to above.
  • Recent analysis of the costs of child poverty can be found here http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/child-poverty-costs-uk-%C2%A329-billion-y...
  • Prior to these latest figures the number of children living in poverty in Scotland fell from 330 000 in 1998/99 (31% of all children) to 220 000 in 2010/11 (21% of all children) (after housing costs, AHC - the measure which gives a better indication of disposable income).
  • Using the official before housing costs headline measure for tracking progress the proportion of children living in poverty fell from 28% in 1998/99 when 300 000 children were officially recognised as living in poverty to 17% (170 000) in 2010/11. In other words well over 100 000 children have been lifted out of poverty in Scotland alone[1].
  • CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of child poverty in the UK and for a better deal for low-income families and children.