Tackling child poverty delivery plan: progress report 2022 to 2023

The first annual progress report for 'Best Start, Bright Futures: Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2022-2026'. Outlining action for the period 2022 to 2023.

Executive Summary

This progress report captures the range of activity taken forward in 2022-23 by the Scottish Government, reflecting the initial implementation of actions set out in ‘Best Start, Bright Futures’, the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan for the period 2022-26.

Over the past year the cost of living crisis, combined with soaring inflation and spiralling energy bills, have had a major negative impact on households across the country and placed significantly increased pressure on household budgets as well as the finances of public services and the Scottish Government budget.

In the face of these challenges we have made difficult decisions and political choices in order to strengthen the immediate support available to the people and families who need it most. Whilst key progress has been delivered, these challenging circumstances have necessitated the delayed implementation of some commitments made when we published the Plan in March 2022.

Key steps delivered in 2022-23 to provide immediate support to families impacted by the cost of living crisis and to drive forward progress toward the ambitious targets set by the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 include:

  • Doubling the value of the Scottish Child Payment to £20 per week from 1 April 2022 and further increasing the value of the payment to £25 per week from 14 November at the same time as expanding the payment to all eligible children under 16. By the end of March 2023, 303,000 children were in receipt of the Payment and £190 million had been paid to families in 2022-23.
  • Continuing delivery of Bridging Payments for school age children from low-income households and doubling the final payment in December 2022 to £260 per child in recognition of the significant pressure facing families – awarding over £92 million to low- income families in 2022.
  • Working with our local authority partners in order to mitigate the UK Government Benefit Cap as fully as possible within devolved powers, making available an additional £2.6 million from 1 January 2023, expected to help up to 4,000 families, many of them lone parent households, with around 14,000 children, as part of around £84 million invested in Discretionary Housing Payments to support people with housing costs and to maintain tenancies.
  • Introducing emergency legislation to protect tenants, putting in place a temporary cap on in-tenancy rent increases, initially set at 0%, and a moratorium on evictions until 31 March 2023.
  • Delivering a £150 payment to all households in receipt of Council Tax Reduction and those in Council Tax Bands A-D, providing relief worth over £273 million to an estimated 1.85 million households.
  • Increasing the value of eight Scottish Government benefits by 6% from 1 April 2022, including all three Best Start Grants - almost double the planned rate.
  • Delivering our new Winter Heating Payment, replacing the Department for Work and Pension’s (DWP) Cold Weather Payment, providing a stable, reliable annual payment of £50 which supported 394,135 low-income households in winter 2022-23 with a total investment of £19.7 million.
  • Doubling investment in our Fuel Insecurity Fund to £20 million, helping tens of thousands of people to meet their energy costs.
  • Investing in Welfare Advice and Health Partnerships, placing advice workers in 180 GP surgeries in Scotland’s most deprived areas, 30 of which were in remote and island GP surgeries.

Alongside these immediate actions, we have also taken positive steps to develop areas of future support, in particular:

  • Continuing to implement Whole Family Wellbeing Funding backed by initial investment of £32 million, driving whole system change to deliver a long term shift towards earlier, preventative intervention and ensuring families get the support they need before they reach crisis point.
  • Commencing work on a new phased approach to whole system change in Dundee and Glasgow, bringing together partners and services to deliver more holistic support, use resources more efficiently and build people’s trust that public services will deliver the support they need.
  • Setting out the action we will take to meet our aim for Scotland to be a leading Fair Work Nation by 2025 with the publication of our new Anti-Racist Employment Strategy and refreshed Fair Work Action Plan.
  • Publishing our Strategic early learning and school age childcare plan for Scotland, setting out our approach to expanding our childcare offer over the rest of this Parliament.
  • Beginning the early phasing-in of community-level systems of school age childcare targeted to support families from low-income households.
  • Successfully completing the pilot phase of 9 projects focused on supporting access to free bikes for children whose families cannot afford them.

In the coming year we will continue to focus on strengthening the support available to families in order to mitigate the ongoing cost of living crisis and to break the cycle of child poverty in Scotland. Particular areas of focus in 2023- 24 include:

  • Tripling the Fuel Insecurity Fund to £30 million, in order to extend immediate crisis funding to those households most in need, as well as building in a more sustainable and holistic approach towards tackling fuel poverty.
  • Uprating all devolved benefits in April 2023 by the September rate of the CPI (10.1%) at a cost of around £430 million, except for Scottish Child Payment (SCP), which was uprated early.
  • Changing regulations to remove income thresholds from Best Start Foods, increasing eligibility to an additional 20,000 pregnant mums and children under three from February 2024.
  • Rolling out Carer Support Payment in pilot areas by the end of 2023, with full national introduction in Spring 2024.
  • Investing a further £15 million to continue to design an all-year-round system of school age childcare, and a further £4.5 million of capital funding to help local authorities provide school age childcare and holiday clubs, targeted to help those from low-income households.
  • We will continue to implement Whole Family Wellbeing Funding, including establishing a national learning into action network and working with a smaller number of Children's Services Planning Partnerships to provide intensive support to drive whole system change.
  • Delivering the actions set out in the refreshed Fair Work Action Plan and publishing an evidence plan in late 2023 along with an accompanying measurement framework to monitor the fair work context and progress we are making over time.
  • Working with business leaders to agree a set of actions that business can take to support the transition to a wellbeing economy within the frame of the New Deal for Business.
  • Building on emerging evidence to support targeted scale up and sharing of learning around place based transformation.


Email: tcpu@gov.scot

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