Campaigners welcome Scottish Child Poverty Bill
Members of the End Child Poverty (ECP) coalition today welcomed the introduction of a new Bill aimed at eradicating the scandal of child poverty in Scotland.
The Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill, which will now be considered by MSPs, establishes ambitious new targets for the reduction and eradication of child poverty and places a duty on the Scottish Government to produce and report on delivery plans highlighting how those targets will be met. For the first time local authorities and health boards will also have a legal duty to report on the action they are taking to reduce child poverty.
Coalition members, which include Children 1st, Barnardo’s Scotland, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, the Poverty Alliance, One Parent Families Scotland and Children in Scotland had urged the Scottish Government to introduce legislation after the UK Government dismantled the UK Child Poverty Act 2010, scrapping the target to eradicate child poverty by 2020.
John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said:
"This Bill is hugely welcome and could prove to be a turning point in the lives of more than 220,000 children living in poverty in Scotland today. The ambitious new targets and the legislative framework that underpins them will help ensure that child poverty remains high on the political agenda and that government is consistently held to account.
"We look forward to working with both the Scottish Government and Parliament to help identify the practical steps that must now be taken to make these ambitions a reality."
Alison Todd, Chief Executive, Children 1st said:
"In a Scotland that is the best place in the world for children to grow up, no child would go hungry, live in substandard accommodation that damages their health, or be prevented from joining in at school or in community activities because of financial hardship. By creating a framework to hold this and future governments to account for their efforts to eradicate child poverty, this Bill marks a crucial milestone in achieving that vision."
Satwat Rehman, Director of One Parent Families Scotland said:
"This is an important commitment by the Scottish Government. We look forward to working with them to improve a situation where 44% of children in single parent families live in relative poverty. This will require an approach which integrates measures around social security and employability with childcare policy to stop that figure increasing over the next four years."
Martin Crewe, Director of Barnardo’s Scotland said:
"We know from our work across Scotland that poverty is one of the main factors affecting children’s ability to thrive and achieve their potential. We welcome the fact that as a country we will have a clear target to end child poverty. We need to make sure that the legislation creates a situation where we are all clear what steps are being taken to do so."
Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance said:
"The publication of this legislation is very welcome. Too many children in Scotland have their lives blighted both now and into their future as a result of poverty. By taking a more strategic approach and setting realistic targets, we can ensure that Scotland becomes a leader in tackling child poverty."
Jackie Brock, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland said:
"No child’s health, wellbeing and future life chances should be blighted by poverty, so we welcome this Bill as a positive step towards its reduction. As this Bill progresses through Parliament we will work with the Scottish Government, our network and members to ensure that the resulting legislation is as strong as it possibly can be. It must result in adequate resources to address the many complex issues associated with poverty such as inequalities in income, health, and attainment."