Child poverty campaigners welcome new Scottish child poverty bill

July 20, 2016

Campaigners today welcomed the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement that the Scottish Government will bring forward a Child Poverty Bill enshrining in legislation its commitment to eradicating child poverty. The Director of the Child Poverty Action group (CPAG) in Scotland, John Dickie, said:

 

“This is excellent news in the drive to eradicate child poverty given the UK government’s abandonment of statutory child poverty commitments. With one in five of Scotland’s children still living in poverty it is vital that the new Bill includes ambitious targets as well as duties to measure and report on progress and a strategic framework that will hold national and local government to account.”

 

CPAG in Scotland had called for a Child Poverty Act in its pre-election programme for government.  The group believes that the proposed Bill should include statutory duties to:

 

• Establish ambitious child poverty targets for the reduction and eradication of child poverty;
• Produce regular national child poverty strategies and report annually on progress relating to those strategies;
• Report annually on the four key income and material deprivation measures of child poverty as originally contained in the UK  Child Poverty Act 2010;
• Require local authorities and other public bodies to set objectives and report progress in relation to tackling child poverty.

 

Mr Dickie continued:

“Legislation in itself won’t end the poverty that scars the lives of so many of our children but it will help ensure child poverty remains a top priority and that every level of government in Scotland can be held to account for the progress it is making.”

For more information contact John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland, jdickie@cpagscotland.org.uk , 0141 552 3656 or 07795 340 618

Notes

1. The first minister’s announcement can be found at http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Eradicating-child-poverty-2738.aspx
2. CPAG in Scotland’s call for a Scottish Child Poverty Act was top of the list of priorities included in our pre-election Programme for Scottish Government manifesto – see http://www.cpag.org.uk/sites/default/files/CPAG-Scotland-Programme-Scot-Gov-2016-21.pdf  . The policy is supported by Barnardo’s Scotland, Oxfam Scotland, Save the Children, Poverty Alliance, One Parent Families Scotland and other members of the End Child Poverty coalition in Scotland.
3. More information on the scale, nature. and causes of child poverty in Scotland can be found at http://www.cpag.org.uk/scotland/child-poverty-facts-and-figures 
4. More than one in five (220,000) of Scotland’s children live in poverty. And unless we act now, things will get worse. Independent modelling by the Resolution Foundation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) forecast massive increases in child poverty in Scotland, and across the UK.
5. The effects of poverty are real and significant. When children grow up poor they miss out. They miss out on the things most children take for granted: warm clothes, school trips, having friends over for tea. They too often do less well at school and earn less as adults.
6. As well as damaging children and families, poverty is a costly problem. Independent research commissioned by CPAG estimates that child poverty costs the UK at least £29 billion a year in extra pressure on public services that deal with the effects of poverty and, in the longer term, wasted economic potential.
7. Eradicating child poverty will require sustained action by both UK and Scottish Governments. Yet despite the context of growing child poverty, the UK Government dismantled the UK Child Poverty Act 2010, removing key child poverty targets and wiping out the legislative commitment to eradicate child poverty in the UK by 2020. The UK government is also legislated to remove the UK and Scottish Governments’ binding duty to produce child poverty strategies every