Tackling child poverty delivery plan 2022 to 2026

The second tackling child poverty delivery plan due under the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017. Outlining action for the period 2022 to 2026.

Best Start, Bright Futures sets out how we will work together to deliver on Scotland’s national mission to tackle child poverty. It is not solely a plan for the Scottish Government, it is a plan for all of Scotland, recognising the contribution all parts of society must make to deliver the change needed for children and families.

Successfully tackling child poverty requires our approach to evolve, to focus on outcomes rather than inputs, and to deliver evidence-informed wide ranging action across Scotland, which works together to wraparound and support families. It will require the transformation of our economy, further investment in key infrastructure such as childcare and transport, and provision of the right high-quality support at the right time in order to help families to move out of poverty.

No one action in isolation can make the change needed. It is the cumulative impact of action across sectors, by all partners, in all parts of Scotland, which will make the difference for children and families.

Best Start, Bright Futures sets out a vision for Scotland, the changes that are needed to achieve this, and the actions we will take with partners to deliver that change. The plan outlines Scotland’s offer to families in order to tackle child poverty head on.

This plan is built on the foundations of the work we have undertaken together over the last four years, since the publication of ‘Every Child, Every Chance’. That includes new and improved supports such as those delivered through Social Security Scotland, including the Scottish Child Payment and Best Start Grant, Scotland’s unique approach to employability through the No One Left Behind, our commitment to deliver more warm and affordable homes and action to strengthen the impact of public sector spend through Fair Work First.

Importantly, it also builds on the work we have taken through our response to COVID-19, which has seen us work together in new ways – breaking down barriers to progress, and putting people at the heart of decision making. Throughout this plan we highlight the progress we have already made, and what more is needed.

In delivering our national mission we are building on the available evidence of what works and focusing efforts on the three drivers of child poverty reduction and the six priority family types at greatest risk of poverty. Focusing in this way will ensure that our actions make the difference needed.

We do not underestimate the challenge in front of us. When the child poverty targets were set by the Scottish Parliament in 2017 they were ambitious. Since then, the impacts of EU Exit and COVID-19, compounded by the current cost of living crisis and rising inflation, make these targets even more challenging.

But these challenges have not reduced our ambition, rather, they have strengthened our resolve to work together to make an even greater impact on the lives of children and their families.

To provide the immediate support families need, and to deliver further progress against the interim targets, we will further enhance investment in social security support over the coming year. This includes increasing the Scottish Child Payment to £25 per week per child by the end of 2022 and taking steps to mitigate the Benefit Cap as fully as we can within the scope of devolved powers, taking immediate steps to support as many families as possible in 2022.

We will also take immediate steps to significantly scale up employment support for parents, with the aim of supporting up to 12,000 parents to ultimately enter and sustain employment.

In large part due to the actions we have taken to date, together with those set out in this plan, using current projections we anticipate that around 17% of children will live in relative poverty in 2023, with over 60,000 fewer children living in poverty since the Act was passed in 2017. Whilst economic modelling cannot precisely account for what may happen, particularly in the context of the cost of living crisis, inflation rises and increasing international instability, we anticipate on the basis of current information that over 50,000 fewer children will live in absolute poverty compared to 2017, with around 16% of children projected to live in absolute poverty in 2023. However, as the impact of the economic situation becomes clearer, this Government will continue to consider further actions required over the lifetime of this plan to achieve these targets, to support families, and break the cycle of child poverty.

In addition to their direct impact on the child poverty targets, the actions set out in this plan will lay the foundation for the transformation in our economy and public services that will be required to meet the 2030 targets, and to set Scotland on a path for sustained poverty reduction.

We recognise the challenge in front of us, and call on all of our partners, and all of Scotland to get behind these actions, and to take further steps to contribute to tackling child poverty.


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