Commissioner supports call for urgent action on child poverty

Today, civil society organisations are calling on the First Minister to commit to key actions around child poverty in Scotland in a letter which Commissioner Bruce Adamson supports.

What the letter calls for

The Scottish Government intends to introduce an income supplement for low income families in 2022.

But child poverty is the most significant human rights issue facing children in Scotland right now, and 2022 is still some way away.

The letter says that child poverty projections for the coming years are stark, and that it’s clear Scotland won’t meet the targets set by the Child Poverty Act unless more urgent and ambitious action is taken.

Scotland has 240,000 children living in poverty right now— that’s more than the entire population of Aberdeen.

So the letter urges the First Minister to commit this week to ensuring:

  • That legislation for the income supplement will be contained within the next Programme for Government and passed within this parliamentary session, which runs until the first half of 2021.
  • That the Scottish Government will explore all options for delivering either an interim or streamlined version of the income supplement in advance of passing legislation.
  • That an initial budget for the income supplement is announced as part of the budget process for 2020/21 and any spending review.
  • That the income supplement be delivered at such a scale as to make substantive progress toward the government’s statutory child poverty targets.

Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner, said:

“Child poverty is the most significant human rights issue facing children in Scotland. Living in poverty affects every aspect of a child’s life, including their educational attainment and mental and physical health. 

“Whilst the Scottish Government’s commitment to introduce the Family Income Supplement for low income families is welcome, its introduction in 2022 does not help alleviate the financial strain that those families face now and addressing child poverty must be a priority and pressing issue for the Scottish Government. The summer holidays are coming up, and we know from speaking to children that this is often a time when their families struggle even more under increasing financial pressure.

“Child poverty can be reduced and there is extensive international evidence on what can be done. Scotland must demonstrate its commitment to alleviating child poverty by urgently progressing a number of legislative and policy measures, including incorporating the UNCRC which will make a tangible difference to children’s lives in Scotland.”

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