Best Start, Bright Futures: 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.

Ministerial Foreword - Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery

John Swinney

Our work to tackle child poverty is strongly aligned with our commitment to the outcomes of the Independent Care Review. 'The Promise' recognised that if Scotland is to be the best place in the world to grow up, we need our public services to work for, and with children, young people, and their families. We know that poverty negatively impacts on the wellbeing of families, with the negative effects intensifying the more persistent and deep their experience. Tackling poverty will help us to support better outcomes for parents and carers and, vitally, to make a life-long difference for children and young people – helping us to ensure that Scotland is the best place in the world to grow up.

Our commitment to Keep the Promise requires us to deliver differently. We must ensure a coordinated approach to services which wrap around families – providing the right support to the right people at the right time and in a way that is respectful and empowering for families.

We want people to be enabled to engage with the wide ranging action set out within this Plan.

By taking this approach we can support people out of poverty, while tackling the deep-seated causes of poverty in our country.

Supporting today's children to reach their full potential will ensure that child poverty remains lower in the future as they become the parents of the next generation of Scotland's children. Whilst we fully recognise that measures aiming to improve the lives and outcomes of today's children will not necessarily bear a measurable impact on the targets set, they are essential to our overall strategy to break the cycle of poverty once and for all.

The measures outlined in this Plan strike an important balance across the three drivers of poverty reduction, strengthening the immediate support families need through social security whilst building the services that will improve their wellbeing and outcomes and enable them to move out of poverty through employment and reducing household costs. We will also continue to take strong action to tackle the poverty related attainment gap and to deliver our Young Person's Guarantee, providing children and young people with the education, skills and opportunities they need to thrive.

When Parliament agreed the targets on child poverty they were rightly ambitious. However no one could have predicted a global pandemic at the scale of COVID-19 or current international events – all of which are driving the cost of living crisis and inflationary pressures that we face. This is not the backdrop we would wish for our second Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, however we are more committed than ever to achieving the progress needed to provide a better future for Scotland's children.

Our ambitious work on child poverty is underpinned by our Covid Recovery Strategy which sets out our vision for recovery. The pandemic has highlighted the damage caused by deep-rooted inequalities in our society and the determination we all share to tackle these head on. Whilst the threat of Covid has not gone away, we will continue to deliver the action needed to provide financial security for low income households, to promote the wellbeing of children and young people, to deliver good, green jobs and far work, and to rebuild our public services.

Our actions are those we can deliver within the limitations of our fixed budget and devolved powers. Independence would provide us with all the levers of powers and therefore a far greater range of options and approaches to tackling child poverty and the ability to ensure policy coherence to that end. We will set out the prospectus for an independent Scotland over the coming months.

This Plan sets out the actions needed to realise Scotland's ambition for families, providing a framework of bold and ambitious action through which we will help to lift thousands of children out of poverty in Scotland – and rally partners across Scotland to support in delivering our national mission to tackle child poverty.

John Swinney

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery



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