Scottish and UK government co-operation to end child poverty no longer optional say campaigners

June 12, 2009

Child poverty campaigners today welcomed a new Child Poverty Bill requiring Scottish and UK Government Ministers to work together to end child poverty by 2020. The Bill contains provisions that will trigger the Sewel Convention and require Scottish Ministers to prepare strategies stating how they will contribute to meeting UK wide child poverty targets. At the same time Clause 9 of the Bill will require the UK Government to consult the Scottish Government in preparing the UK child poverty strategy.

Commenting on the Bill’s publication, John Dickie, Head of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said

“This Bill is vitally important as it means working together to end child poverty will no longer be optional for Scottish and UK governments, it will be mandatory. The welcome co-operation between UK and Scottish Ministers evident in this Bill must now be matched with the co-operation needed to tackle the low pay, lack of childcare and inadequate benefits and tax credits that leave hundreds of thousands of Scotland’s children below the poverty line.”

Mr Dickie continued;

“Scotland and the rest of the UK have much higher levels of child poverty than most other wealthy countries and that is clearly wrong. We must stop so many of our children growing up with worse health, poorer life chances and a lower life expectancy. But we won’t end child poverty until we end the culture of inequality that has blighted Britain for the last 30 years. That means more than just helping parents into work, it means fair pay, fair taxes, affordable childcare, decent homes and a decent minimum income for those who can’t work. It also means UK government welfare reform proposals must also now be changed to ensure that they are consistent with the goal of an end to child poverty and do not push parents into subprime jobs.”

Notes for editors
  • Contact John Dickie, Head of CPAG in Scotland on 0141 552 3656 or 07795 340 618
  • The Child Poverty Bill can be viewed and downloaded from http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2008-09/childpoverty.html
  • 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.
  • CPAG is one of over 150 member organisations of the Campaign to End Child Poverty, campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goals of halving child poverty by 2010 and ending child poverty by 2020 are met.