Growing the economy and tackling poverty

Scottish Government 2023-24 Programme for Government published.  

Delivering in the year ahead In the coming year, I will take forward the following critical activity. Tackling poverty

· Invest £405 million in the Scottish Child Payment this year, improving the lives of over 300,000 children across Scotland while continuing to drive forward cross government programmes which support the three drivers of child poverty reduction (cost of living, income from employment and income from social security and benefits in kind) in key areas, such as parental employability, early learning and childcare, mental health, transport, and affordable housing – building on our place-based partnership work with local authorities and local partners to change how services are delivered.

· Establish a new Ministerial group, focusing on the delivery of Best Start, Bright Futures across government to strengthen our approach and more closely co-ordinate policy to maximise impact on child poverty, ensuring that we take a whole family wellbeing approach to our child poverty work, which will enable us to support the Government’s commitment to keeping The Promise.

· Continue to invest in a package of funding for income maximisation, welfare and debt advice services, supporting at least 40,000 people with free debt advice and increasing the accessibility of advice in education, health and community settings. Social Security

· Invest £5.3 billion in Scottish Government benefits in 2023-24, supporting over 1.2 million people, as well as improving the support we provide to carers by introducing the Carer Support Payment to replace Carer’s Allowance in Scotland – working closely with the Minimum Income Guarantee Expert Group to consider the Social Renewal Advisory Group’s recommendation to model a minimum income guarantee for unpaid carers, the majority of whom are women, and who have been hard hit by the cost of living crisis.

· Continue to drive forward the safe and secure transfer of cases from the Department of Work and Pensions to Social Security Scotland, bringing tens of thousands more people into our social security system.

· Support families by introducing regulations that remove income thresholds and so increase eligibility for Best Start Foods to around an additional 20,000 people from February 2024.

· Support care leavers into employment, including through the Job Start Payment, and the Care Experienced Internship Programme at Social Security Scotland, as we work to keep The Promise.

· Undertake an independent review of Adult Disability Payment to ensure the benefit continues to meet the needs of disabled people, building on the analysis of a consultation on the mobility component of Adult Disability Payment published in August.

· Support people with the cost of living by increasing the Scottish Child Payment, Funeral Support Payment and all disability and carers benefits in line with inflation.

Equality, Opportunity, Community – Our Programme for Government (

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