Child poverty cumulative impact assessment: update

This report estimates the impact of Scottish Government policies on child poverty, updating the modelling that was originally undertaken for the second Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan.


1 Scottish Government, 2022, Tackling child poverty delivery plan 2022-2026 - Annex 4: Cumulative Impact Assessment

2 Scottish Government, 2023, Tackling Child Poverty Progress Report 2022-23 - Annex B: Cumulative Impact Assessment Update

3 These policies are: Free School Meals; School Clothing Grant; Council Tax Reduction (including water and sewerage discount); Discretionary Housing Payments (bedroom tax and benefit cap mitigation); Carers Allowance Supplement; Best Start Grant; Best Start Foods; Scottish Child Payment; and employability services.

4 Including changes to policies as opposed to policies themselves raises the question of what the counterfactual should be. In general, counterfactuals can be constructed along three different lines, depending on the research question: first, we can estimate the impact of policies as a whole, which generally entails a counterfactual in which those policies do not exist; second, we can estimate the impact of policy decisions made or implemented since a certain date, including the introduction of new policies and changes to existing policies, with the counterfactual projected forwards from that date using a set of assumptions; and third, we can estimate the impact of policies relative to some contemporaneous comparator, such as UK Government provision. Thus far, the CIA has involved the first of these approaches, which cannot be straightforwardly combined with the second or third.

5 DWP (2023) Family Resources Survey: background information and methodology.

6 Scottish Government, 2023, Poverty and income inequality in Scotland 2019-22.

7 This difference is based on unrounded estimates.

8 Scottish Government (2023) Poverty and income inequality in Scotland 2019-22.

9 This difference is based on unrounded estimates.

10 Goedeme, T et al., 2013, Testing the Statistical Significance of Microsimulation Results: A Plea, International Journal of Microsimulation 6(3), 50-77.

11 Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2023, Deepening poverty in Scotland – no one left behind? | JRF

12 Scottish Government, 2022, Welfare reform - impact on households with children: report

13 Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2023, Guarantee our Essentials: reforming Universal Credit to ensure we can all afford the essentials in hard times

14 Our estimate compares to analysis by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), which suggested that removing the two-child limit would lift between 10,000 and 15,000 children out of poverty, and unpublished House of Commons Library (HOCL) analysis commissioned by the SNP which gave a figure of 20,000. The CPAG figure is consistent with our estimate given rounding conventions. The higher HOCL figure may reflect the use of a different year of analysis, since as noted the impact will increase over time, but this cannot be verified as the analysis was not published. CPAG, 2023, Cost of living and child poverty: Scottish Government debate.

15 This modelling assumes Universal Credit is fully rolled out, since the policy would also apply to legacy benefits. In line with JRF’s modelling, deductions affected by the Essentials Guarantee are not modelled apart from the benefit cap.



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