The Social Security (Miscellaneous Amendment and Transitional Provision) (Scotland) Regulations 2022: Fairer Scotland Duty impact assessment summary

Assesses the impact of changes to Best Start Foods, Best Start Grants and Scottish Child Payment on socio-economic inequality. This duty came into force in Scotland in 2018 and is set out in Part 1 of the Equality Act 2010. It considers issues such as low income, low wealth and area deprivation.

Summary of evidence

Policy Context

Tackling child poverty is a Scottish Government priority with 24% of Scotland's children (240,000 children each year) living in relative poverty after housing costs in 2017-20.[2] Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, it was predicted that if no further action were taken to tackle child poverty one in three children in Scotland would grow up in poverty by 2030, damaging society and the economy.[3] The impact of COVID-19 on child poverty levels is still largely unknown, particularly the long term effects on families and our economy, however we know that the impacts have been felt most acutely by the most disadvantaged in our society.

Children in low income households tend to experience a range of disadvantages, including lower educational attainment and poorer health. Poverty can have lasting impacts long into adulthood such as increased risk of homelessness, lower earning potential and greater likelihood of limiting illness. The growing evidence in developed economies suggests that gaining additional income has positive causal effects on health, behavioural development and educational attainment for children in households at the lower end of income distribution.[4]

The Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan[5] (TCPDP) identifies three main drivers of child poverty reduction: increasing incomes from work and earnings; reducing household costs; and maximising incomes from social security and benefits in kind. The FFP help to tackle the cuts to social security entitlements made by the UK Government, providing additional financial support to low income families in receipt of reserved benefits.

The TCPDP identifies priority groups, which are more likely to experience poverty and are therefore more likely to require social security support: lone parents; disabled people; families with more than three children; minority ethnic groups; families with a child under one; and mothers under 25. The TCPDP commits to addressing these socioeconomic inequalities through its child poverty reduction policies and measures (including the FFP), stating that they must impact positively on each of these groups.



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