Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill: children's rights and wellbeing impact assessment

Scottish Government's assessment of the impacts on children's rights and wellbeing of the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill.

CRWIA Stage 2: Scoping - key questions

1. What children's rights are likely to be affected by the policy/measure?

Article 1 defines a child as anyone under the age of 18. Note that the Scottish Government prefers to use the term 'children and young people'.

The main articles which the Child Poverty Bill will impact on are noted below,

Article 24

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services.

2. States Parties shall pursue full implementation of this right and, in particular, shall take appropriate measures:

(a) To diminish infant and child mortality;

(b) To ensure the provision of necessary medical assistance and health care to all children with emphasis on the development of primary health care;

(c) To combat disease and malnutrition, including within the framework of primary health care, through, inter alia, the application of readily available technology and through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and clean drinking-water, taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution;

(d) To ensure appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers;

(e) To ensure that all segments of society, in particular parents and children, are informed, have access to education and are supported in the use of basic knowledge of child health and nutrition, the advantages of breastfeeding, hygiene and environmental sanitation and the prevention of accidents;

(f) To develop preventive health care, guidance for parents and family planning education and services.

3. States Parties shall take all effective and appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children.

4. States Parties undertake to promote and encourage international co-operation with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the right recognized in the present article. In this regard, particular account shall be taken of the needs of developing countries.

Article 26

1. States Parties shall recognize for every child the right to benefit from social security, including social insurance, and shall take the necessary measures to achieve the full realization of this right in accordance with their national law.

2. The benefits should, where appropriate, be granted, taking into account the resources and the circumstances of the child and persons having responsibility for the maintenance of the child, as well as any other consideration relevant to an application for benefits made by or on behalf of the child.

Article 27

1. States Parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.

2. The parent(s) or others responsible for the child have the primary responsibility to secure, within their abilities and financial capacities, the conditions of living necessary for the child's development.

3. States Parties, in accordance with national conditions and within their means, shall take appropriate measures to assist parents and others responsible for the child to implement this right and shall in case of need provide material assistance and support programmes, particularly with regard to nutrition, clothing and housing.

4. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to secure the recovery of maintenance for the child from the parents or other persons having financial responsibility for the child, both within the State Party and from abroad. In particular, where the person having financial responsibility for the child lives in a State different from that of the child, States Parties shall promote the accession to international agreements or the conclusion of such agreements, as well as the making of other appropriate arrangements.

Article 31

1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

2. States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.

2. How will the policy/measure affect children's wellbeing as defined by the wellbeing indicators?

Section 96(2) of Children and Young People (Scotland) Act lists the eight wellbeing indicators, sometimes referred to by the acronym SHANARRI:

  • Safe - protected from abuse, neglect or harm at home, at school and in the community.
  • Healthy - having the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health, access to suitable healthcare, and support in learning to make healthy and safe choices.
  • Achieving - being supported and guided in learning and in the development of skills, confidence and self-esteem, at home, in school and in the community.
  • Nurtured - having a nurturing place to live in a family setting, with additional help if needed, or, where this is not possible, in a suitable care setting.
  • Active - having opportunities to take part in activities such as play, recreation and sport, which contribute to healthy growth and development, at home, in school and in the community.
  • Respected - having the opportunity, along with carers, to be heard and involved in decisions that affect them.
  • Responsible - having opportunities and encouragement to play active and responsible roles at home, in school and in the community, and where necessary, having appropriate guidance and supervision, being involved in decisions that affect them.
  • Included - helping to overcome social, education, physical and economic inequalities, and being accepted as part of the community in which they live and learn.

The Child Poverty Bill will impact across a range of children's wellbeing indicators;

  • Children's basic needs will be met, reducing inequality and poverty will assist children to access services and opportunities aligned to their age.
  • As outlined previously poor health can be linked directly to experience of poverty, any reduction in poverty levels therefore will increase the number of children who live in good health
  • As research indicates many children with experience of poverty can disengage from school due to the stigma of being in poverty and not being able to participate fully; reductions in poverty levels will increase the number of children able to achieve their best in school and support educational attainment. Children will also be able to participate in other activities and become more active.

3. How many children and young people are likely to be affected by the policy or measure?

In 2014/15, 220,000 (22%) children in Scotland were living in relative poverty After Housing Costs ( AHC) [1] , unchanged from the previous year. [2]

120,000 (12%) children in Scotland were living in combined low income and material deprivation AHC [3] , 20,000 fewer than the previous year.

200,000 (21%) children were living in absolute poverty AHC [4] in Scotland, 20,000 fewer than the previous year.

From the above it is a fair estimate to assume that approximately 220,000 children will be affected by this new Bill when it becomes law.

Under 18 population by Scottish Council area - 2011 census

Scotland total 1,042,597 (19.68%)
Council area Under 18 population Council area Under 18 population
Argyll & Bute 16,634 East Ayrshire 24,721
Dumfries & Galloway 29,028 Stirling 18,186
Eilean Siar 5,347 South Lanarkshire 63,316
South Ayrshire 21,140 Clackmannanshire 10,687
Scottish Borders 22,028 Renfrewshire 34,862
Angus 23,188 Shetland Islands 5,100
Orkney Islands 4,173 Midlothian 17,728
Perth & Kinross 28,804 Falkirk 32,115
East Dunbartonshire 21,515 Aberdeenshire 54,120
North Ayrshire 28,079 West Dunbartonshire 18,258
Highland 47,219 Dundee City 26,748
Moray 19,540 North Lanarkshire 73,239
Inverclyde 15,711 West Lothian 40,076
Fife 73,249 Edinburgh, City of 81,336
East Renfrewshire 20,479 Aberdeen City 36,504
East Lothian 21,208 Glasgow City 108,259

4. What research evidence is available?

The IFS have stated on a UK level "Between 2015-16 and 2020-21, absolute child poverty is projected to rise sharply, from 15.1% to 18.3%. This rise is entirely explained by planned cuts to benefits, which are projected to have a particularly large impact on child poverty rates in large families. We also project a large increase in relative child poverty, from 17.8% in 2015-16 to 25.7% in 2020-21, also driven by large families." [5]

5. Has there been any public or stakeholder consultations on the policy/measure?

A full public consultation and workshop with local authority poverty leads will be conducted to gain insight from a wide range of sources. These will be complimented by a specific youth workshop facilitated by the Scottish Youth Parliament

During 2013 and early 2014, we discussed our strategic approach with the Ministerial Advisory Group on Child Poverty (Ministerial Advisory Group) and a full range of stakeholders from across Scotland, as well as colleagues across the Scottish Government. Feedback from those discussions elicited broad support for a strategic approach. Priorities for future work were identified across a variety of policy areas including early years, education, employability and financial capability. There were also widespread calls for more robust reporting of the range of activity contributing to tackling child poverty in Scotland and of the impact of this activity.

6. Has there been any estimate of the resource implications of the policy/measure?

Costs associated with development of statutory income targets and an associated delivery plan will be covered under existing budgets, there will be no additional costs incurred.


Email: Gillian Cross

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