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Child poverty

Around one in four children in Scotland lives in poverty, according to research ('Poverty and income inequality in Scotland: 2015-2016').

We find this figure unacceptable, especially in a modern, thriving country like ours. That is why we are working hard to reduce child poverty.

Child Poverty Act

In February 2017 we introduced the Child Poverty Bill to the Scottish Parliament, which sets out targets to reduce the number of children experiencing the effects of poverty by 2030.

Following scrutiny the Bill was passed unanimously in the Scottish Parliament in November 2017, receiving Royal Assent in December 2017.

The Act sets statutory targets which:

  • help focus our efforts to tackle and ultimately eradicate child poverty
  • help monitor progress
  • are in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

The targets state that by 2030, of children living in Scottish households:

  • less than 10% should be living in relative poverty (how many families are on low incomes compared with middle income households)
  • less than 5% should be living in absolute poverty (how many low income families are not seeing their living standards improving over time)
  • less than 5% should be living with combined low income and material deprivation (how many lower income families cannot afford basic necessities)
  • less than 5% should be living in persistent poverty (how many families live on low incomes three years out of four)

The Act requires Scottish Ministers to publish child poverty delivery plans at regular intervals, with annual reports to measure progress.

Local authorities and health boards must also jointly publish annual reports on what they are doing to reduce child poverty in the local area.

The Act also establishes a statutory Poverty and Inequality Commission from 1 July 2019.

Tackling child poverty as part of a wider strategy

The Child Poverty Act is part of the Fairer Scotland Action Plan, which sets our overall strategy for tackling poverty and inequality in Scotland.

The core principles of the Act are further strengthened by the:

They are all designed to ensure that children's interests and rights are placed at the centre of our policy considerations.

Child Poverty Delivery Plan

We published Every Child, Every Chance: the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2018-22 on 29 March 2018. This plan sets out actions to be taken to progress towards the ambitious child poverty targets set for 2030.

Further information

We regularly publish: