Tackling child poverty: first year progress report (2018 to 2019)

The first annual progress report for 'Every child, every chance: tackling child poverty delivery plan 2018-2022'.

3. Reporting On Progress 2018-19


This section sets out progress made in the first year since the launch of the Delivery Plan in March 2018. It covers all actions, with additional detail on new programmes put in place since publication.

In line with the advice of the Poverty and Inequality Commission, those actions expected to have the biggest impacts on poverty are covered in more detail. A progress ‘at a glance’ table is also provided in section four.

As set out in section two, this programme of work is being supported by an ambitious evaluation strategy which, in time, will provide valuable analytical insights on the impact of these policies and programmes. The impact of our actions is already becoming evident in a number of areas. To illustrate this we’ve included case studies for a number of actions to show how families are benefiting from these changes. We also include reflections from members of the Children’s Parliament on programmes they have either directly benefitted from or observed others who have accessed the support.

But it is important to recognise that this is year one of a four year plan. We are moving with pace in many areas but some programmes are only just starting or have still to begin. The key principle for our work is that we deliver with pace and at scale, wherever possible, and that roll out is carefully considered to achieve the right results.

The actions described below are arranged under the five original chapters set out in Every Child, Every Chance:

A. Increasing income from employment and earnings
B. Costs of living
C. Social security
D. Helping families in other ways
E. Partnership working

A. Increasing Income From Employment And Earnings

Sustainable, fair work is a long-term route out of poverty for families. Every Child, Every Chance identified ‘increasing income from employment’ as a main driver of child poverty reduction. However, to be sustainable, employment needs to offer parents decent rates of pay, good training and support, opportunities to progress, a flexible working environment and enough hours in work to provide a wage that, as a minimum, meets basic family needs.

That is why the Delivery Plan, through a range of programmes, supports this vision of a fair work future for families.

By promoting fair, inclusive and flexible employment, we can help parents work and earn more, effectively lifting them out of poverty.

Here we have provided updates on all the actions committed, with a spotlight on new employment support for parents and our work to build a living wage nation.

New Employment Support For Parents

We are making considerable investment in employment support through Fair Start Scotland (FSS) and the Parental Employment Support Fund and a pilot programme to help disabled parents in particular. Of the three strands, FSS is the furthest developed to date, being launched at the same time as Every Child, Every Chance. The other programmes will come on stream this year and next.

Fair Start Scotland

FSS launched in April 2018 and, by 29 March 2019, 10,063 individuals had accessed the service, of which more than half (64%) have a long term health condition. Of these participants 2,013 started work after joining FSS.

FSS provides tailored, person-centred support and, by 2023, will reach a minimum of 38,000 people who need support to enter and sustain work.

We know that parents are amongst those benefitting from the programme but information collected at the start of the programme was limited. We have now taken steps to address this. Information collected from July 2019 will enable us to demonstrate the impact the programme is having on parents with dependent children.

The Poverty and Inequality Commission asked for more information on how FSS and our new Parental Employment Support Fund will work together – this is explored further in our update on the Fund. The new fund will help prepare parents to participate in the support offered through FSS, and support those already in work to progress and increase their earnings.

Case study – Fair Start Scotland:

Sam* had been out of work for over 10 years and being mum to three children, felt her options for work were limited. Throughout this time, Sam tried to find work that would suit her circumstances. However, with a lack of recent work experience finding a job proved difficult – and left her feeling disheartened that she would never get the chance to show her value in the workplace.

In February 2019, Sam chose to participate in Fair Start Scotland. Sam knew that she wanted to work in the care sector, and by working with a Fair Start Scotland Adviser, Sam recognised she had a lot of life experience and skills that she could develop. Together, they created a personalised plan to help her achieve her employment goals.

Through Fair Start Scotland, Sam updated her qualifications through a sector-based learning academy, developed her CV and accessed individual support that involved interview preparation and advice. As a result, she has just secured a job as a support worker, working 39 hours a week.

Sam said “Fair Start Scotland gave me hope and worked with me. My confidence grew and my light came back and all because they gave me the tools to build myself up. I now work in a job I didn’t ever think was possible – and they will still continue to help and support me for a year.”

*Name has been changed

Parental Employment Support Fund

In 2018-19, we laid the groundwork for a new programme of employment support targeted specifically at parents backed by £12.2 million investment. This service will work with FSS to support low income parents engage and progress towards work, and support those in work to increase their earnings. We aim to commence delivery of this new service in November 2019.

Based on the No One Left Behind (NOLB) principles, we are working with local authorities and their partners, on the new Parental Employment Support fund to draw extensively on the lived experience of potential service users and identify best practice. This will be integral to the final delivery model. The development of proposals will allow us to more accurately identify the numbers of parents the fund is likely to support. At present, we anticipate 17,500 low income parents will be supported.

The programme is in its early development stages (with the funding weighted towards the final three years of the Plan). The team established to develop the programme is in place and has been making good progress in laying the groundwork for delivery.

Parental Employment Support Fund provides the opportunity to build on existing services, enhancing what is already working and increasing the support for those facing in-work-poverty. This investment should therefore not be seen in isolation – coupled with the wider package of employment support we are set to invest £43 million in addition to investment in Fair Start Scotland each year. The need for childcare services will, in part, be addressed through the expansion of universal provision of Early Learning and Childcare for three and four year olds, and eligible twos and the recent announcement of the new £3 million Out of School Care Fund. Using the NOLB principles at a local level, we are building on existing expertise gained from Working for Families and other programmes to ensure synergies with wrap-around services and wider local government, third and private sector investment. This offers a comprehensive package of support, linking the many streams of government investment.

Within their advice the Poverty and Inequality Commission noted that investment in the Parental Employment Support Fund is lower than in the previous Working for Families Fund which ran from 2004-08. However as previously noted there have been considerable changes to the employability support landscape since this programme was delivered. Substantial investment in the previous programme also owed to the provision of childcare services.

Early engagement and learning work

Our approach to developing Intensive Parental Employment Support has focused on learning from the evidence base and having early engagement with those responsible for past and current programmes, also ensuring we learn from people with lived experience of poverty:

  • An early workshop on Intensive Parental Employment Support (June 2018), hosted by Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) was very helpful in making initial contacts with those from current and past programmes and we were able to exchange evidence and perceptions about what works.
  • Recent research from the JRF and various evaluations of “in-work support” programmes have informed our thinking regarding the key groups that could be targeted, the key design principles and delivery model.
  • Stakeholder roundtable events in Glasgow, Ayrshire and Dundee during March 2019 raised awareness and sought views/ideas from a range of attendees. These included a range of organisations with direct experience of supporting low income families. Everyone recognised the important role key workers can play, the need to work collectively in partnership to maximise current wrap-around services, and to focus support on in-work poverty.
  • Visits to a range of existing programmes have deepened our understanding of current practice. These further discussions with organisations and users have underlined the vital importance of a key worker in supporting families to move towards and into sustainable employability outcomes.

Eligibility and targeting

The Delivery Plan identified six priority family types who will be the focus of all programmes being developed, including on Intensive Parental Employment Support where all six priority families will be eligible. An appraisal by Scottish Government analysts of wider employment and poverty data suggests that the following specific priority groups would benefit most from the support offered through this investment:

  • Families where the parent or child has a disability;
  • Lone parents who are unemployed and need support to access employment; and
  • Lone parents currently in employment that require support to progress within the work place.

In addition, another group – couples where only one parent is in employment – were identified as a key sub-set of low-income parents who could particularly benefit.

This focus on the priority families and these other considerations will guide our thinking as we move towards delivery later this year. We will ensure that, as the programme develops, we can provide data breakdowns by this typology to inform our evaluative work.

Additional Investment To Support Disabled Parents

As an extension of the parental employment approach, in December 2018, the Scottish Government announced an additional £6 million investment covering the period of the Delivery Plan. This will offer additional support to disabled parents to help them move towards and into work and be aligned to existing employment provision.

We committed to co-produce a pilot fund with disabled parents and representative bodies to look specifically at issues disabled parents face in entering the workforce and progressing through a career.

The rationale for an additional programme specifically focused on disabled parents is that this group are likely to face particular challenges and barriers in employment

non‑disabled parents do not. These barriers may need bespoke support to overcome. However, there is limited evidence on the job outcomes for disabled parents currently being generated through existing employment support and what additional assistance may be required to improve those outcomes. Therefore, it will be important to develop pilots in a small number of areas which will be supported by robust monitoring and evaluation, complementing existing provision and which considers the potential need to have a more local focus.

This is a very new programme, but we are already working to ensure close alignment with Intensive Parental Employment Support, sharing design and delivery thinking and learning as we go.


  • Fair Start Scotland will positively impact on up to 7,000 children living in poverty by 2023
  • Our employment services support parents to increase income from earnings and/or progress through a career
  • Disabled parents, minority ethnic people and lone parents are expected to benefit most
  • The Parental Employment Support service will reach 17,500 parents by 2022
  • Our new disabled parents pilot programmes will reach 2,000 parents by 2022

Tackling Low Pay And Supporting Equality At Work

By promoting fair, inclusive and flexible employment, we can help parents work and earn more, effectively lifting them out of poverty. Paying the real Living Wage is a cornerstone of our approach – ensuring that the hourly rate parents receive affords them a good quality of life.

In 2018-19 we set out our plans to build a fair work future for Scotland – publishing our Fair Work Action Plan and Gender Pay Gap Action Plan and commencing development of a Future Skills Action Plan. We also revised the Scottish Business Pledge, and will take forward delivery of this in the next year ensuring closer alignment to the Fair Work Framework. We have also continued to promote flexibility for unpaid carers in the workplace through Carer Positive.

Building A Living Wage Nation

Tackling low pay for parents is crucial to reducing child poverty. It is one focus of our work on the real Living Wage and Public Sector Pay. The Scottish Government aims to lead by example and is an accredited Living Wage employer, meaning all employees in the public sector for which we control remuneration are benefitting from this commitment.

Scotland is already the best performing of UK countries in paying the real Living Wage with 80.6% of employees paid at least that amount (£9 p/h as of 5/11/18). But we want to see more employees benefit.

We are in the second year of our three year plan to build a Living Wage Nation and we have made substantial progress. In the first year, 2018-19, we secured an uplift in the hourly rate of over 5,000 employees across Scotland – as part of our ambition to achieve at least an additional 25,000 uplifts by 2021 through employer accreditation. This is putting more money in the pockets of families across Scotland. We have committed a further £380,000 to the Poverty Alliance for 2019‑20 to build upon the growth in workers receiving the real Living Wage in the last year and drive up accreditation.

A key success was Dundee being recognised for its commitment to become the first ‘Living Wage Place’ in March 2019, with its alliance of prominent employers launching an Action Plan setting out how they will work together on “Making Dundee a Living Wage City”. According to End Child Poverty Coalition estimates, Dundee has the second highest child poverty rate in Scotland, so this place focus is important.

Living our values – embedding the real Living Wage through Scottish Government investment.

Through our expansion of Early Learning and Childcare (ELC), our shared aspiration with COSLA is for all workers in ELC settings to be paid the real Living Wage as a minimum. We are fully aware that many parents will be interested in the employment opportunities ELC will offer and are actively considering how to maximise links between this and the intensive parental employment funding we are making available.

Similarly, in our work to tackle fuel poverty and energy efficiency, action has been taken to ensure contractors pay the real Living Wage as a condition of grant to councils delivering our Area Based Schemes. Through Warmer Homes Scotland, our flagship fuel poverty scheme, Warmworks Scotland LLP, the managing agent, is an accredited Living Wage Employer and is contractually committed to ensuring its supply chain pays its employees the Scottish Living Wage.

In addition, those involved in delivering the Fair Start Scotland service receive at least this rate. 

Tackling low pay in the public sector

The Living Wage commitment continues in our 2019-20 public sector pay policy which takes a progressive, fair and affordable approach. It also aims to reduce the overall income pay gap between low and high earners. All employers covered by the policy must ensure their staff are paid a full time equivalent salary of at least £17,385 and provide a minimum 3% basic pay award for all staff earning below £36,500. In addition, our no compulsory redundancy policy protects public sector jobs, and provides reassurance of employment. NHS Scotland staff are paid the Scottish Living Wage in line with Agenda for Change pay scales.


  • Higher pay rates mean more income from employment
  • This is particularly relevant for women who are more likely to work in the public sector
  • Young parents stand to benefit by up to £2.85 for every hour worked
  • 80.6% of workers in Scotland are paid the real Living Wage or more
  • Part time workers, Lone Parents and Mothers under 25 are most likely to benefit

New Action On The Gender Pay Gap

Tackling low pay must go beyond Living Wage accreditation to address the range of factors which prevent parents, carers of children, and young people from accessing their full potential in the labour market.

We know that tackling gender inequality is central to making progress on our ambition. Child poverty is often a proxy for women’s poverty and we are clear that we will not solve child poverty without tackling the gender pay gap. Many priority family concerns intersect with gender issues too – so we need to focus on helping minority ethnic and disabled women, and particularly mothers, to make real progress.

The Scottish Government published its Gender Pay Gap Action Plan in March 2019. This was developed over 2018-19 in partnership with stakeholders, including Engender and Close the Gap, on a Gender Pay Gap Working Group, chaired by the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills.

The Plan includes 50 actions and has a strong intersectional focus, particularly on minority ethnic women and disabled women.

Looking forward, key actions with specific child poverty resonances include supporting around 2,000 women to return to work after a career break through the new Women Returners Programme. Worth £5 million over three years, this builds on the success of a pilot project run since 2017. Crucially, this should provide a significant boost to parental incomes.

The Plan also committed to a new Centre for Flexible Work as a specific child poverty commitment. More information on this is provided later in this section.

Flexible Workforce Development Fund

Year two of the Flexible Workforce Development Fund was launched in July 2018. This allocated a further £10 million in academic year 2018-19, supporting eligible employers to access a maximum of £15,000 of college training. This benefit can be passed to the supply chain; either through nomination of supply chain companies to receive their entitlement or including supply chain staff in training. Statistics on delivery will be published in line with college reporting cycles. The Flexible Workforce Development Fund has the potential to benefit all priority groups. Employers are being encouraged to give due consideration to specific groups, including those belonging to equality groups.

The Workplace Equality Fund

We are providing £750,000 to the workplace equality fund to enable businesses with innovative ideas to embed dimensions of the Fair Work Framework in their workplaces. Twenty two projects have been funded and include those that should target priority families. These include:

  • improving recruitment procedures to better attract a diverse workforce;
  • offering paid internships to minority ethnic people;
  • supporting women returners;
  • building flexible and agile workplaces for companies in the construction, STEM, finance, technology, and furnishing sectors; and
  • extending the fund in 2019-20 to enable us to work with more employers while also continuing to support women, minority ethnic and disabled workers and encouraging family friendly working practices to support parents in the workplace.

New Support For Flexible Working

We are partners in the Family Friendly Working Scotland (FFWS) Partnership alongside Working Families, Parenting across Scotland and Fathers Network Scotland we support and promote the development of family-friendly workplaces across Scotland. We provided £159,000 to FFWS for 2018-19 and again in 2019-20 to support and promote development of family friendly workplaces.

As set out in The Gender Pay Gap Action Plan, we have commissioned a feasibility study for a new ‘Centre for Flexible Work’. This centre will be a UK first, aiming to design, test, embed and scale new approaches to increasing the availability of flexible working – in particular for low income parents. Cross-government funding of £50,750 (with £25,750 being met through the Tackling Child Poverty Fund) has been agreed for 2019-20 to support the initial feasibility study in the first year of a potential three year programme to establish the prototype centre. The centre’s core aim would be to ensure that those who have the most to gain – low income parents – are supported to access this work and raise their living standards.

B. Cost Of Living

Reducing household costs is one of the keys to delivering a reduction in child poverty levels. This covers many unavoidable costs such as flexible and affordable childcare provision; safe, warm and secure housing; fuel, food and day-to-day essentials; and affordable credit – which is often required due to insecure incomes.

As set out in section 1, the Scottish Government is already investing heavily to support families with the costs of living – beyond the actions outlined in ‘Every Child, Every Chance’. For example in 2018-19:

  • The universal provision of school meals for primaries 1-3 was backed by £54 million of investment and delivered an annual saving of £380 per child.
  • Free prescriptions saved £9 per item, which is of particular benefit to families who have ongoing health conditions.
  • The Council Tax Reduction Scheme, backed by £351 million, benefitted almost half a million households and saved recipients an average of £701 per year.
  • Our investment of over £63 million in Discretionary Housing Payments helped families on low incomes meet their housing costs, including mitigating the bedroom tax in full.

In November 2018, the Poverty and Inequality Commission published helpful advice on the challenges faced by families during the school holidays in particular. Our actions here and on ‘social security’ and ‘helping families in other ways’ seek to address many of the issues raised.

Coordination of support was identified as a key area for work and we are currently finalising options to pilot and evaluate a comprehensive holiday hub over the summer; bringing together nutritious food, childcare and activities for children in a rural community. However, we will give further careful consideration to the challenges and suggestions made by the Commission in developing the programme of action needed to reach our 2030 targets.

This section provides more detailed information on Early Learning and Childcare, supporting families with the cost of the school day and housing affordability and energy efficiency.

Enhanced Support Through Early Learning And Childcare

Quality Early Learning and Childcare will improve outcomes for children and unlock parents earning potential.

Expanded Early Learning And Childcare

The Scottish Government is rolling out a transformational expansion of funded Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) provision in partnership with local government. From August 2020, all three and four year olds and around a quarter of two year olds will be entitled to 1140 hours of funded ELC – nearly double the current entitlement of 600 hours a year. 1140 hours means about 30 hours of funded ELC a week over term time, which is equivalent to a primary school week, but parents and carers can also choose to access their child’s entitlement through a smaller number of hours over a greater number of weeks. We are also introducing ‘Funding Follows the Child’ which will help ensure greater flexibility and choice for families in how they access their child’s funded entitlement.

Quality is at the heart of the ELC expansion. International evidence has shown that high quality early years provision can improve lifelong outcomes. Our investment in ELC is intended to support children’s outcomes and narrow the attainment gap. It will also make a practical difference to families, both in terms of saving them money (1140 hours of funded ELC is estimated to save households on average £4,500 per child each year) and giving parents and carers greater opportunities to consider work, training or study.

Scotland’s funded ELC offer is available to all families with three and four year olds, regardless of income or working pattern. Evidence shows that children growing up in more disadvantaged circumstances benefit particularly from high quality ELC.

In addition to this universal offer, around a quarter of two year olds are eligible for funded ELC in Scotland. From August 2020, their entitlement will also increase to 1140 hours. The eligibility criteria include children who are looked after, the subject of a kinship care or guardianship order, or whose parents or carers are in receipt of a number of qualifying benefits, including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support and Tax Credits or Universal Credit. Local authorities also have discretionary powers to offer funded ELC to children who don’t meet the criteria but would benefit from earlier access to high quality funded ELC.

As a result of our landmark multi-year funding agreement with COSLA to fully fund the ELC expansion, annual revenue investment in ELC will reach nearly £1 billion by 2021-22. This is an increase of £567 million on 2016-17 levels. £476 million in capital funding over four years has also been provided to support the next phase of infrastructure investment in ELC, and local authorities are making good progress with major capital projects to ensure enough places are available for the expansion. Total additional revenue and capital spend over five years from 2017-18 to 2021-22 will reach almost £2 billion.

Local authorities are already “phasing in” the expanded offer of funded ELC in preparation for August 2020. The planning guidance we issued in March 2017 made clear that plans for phasing should reflect the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation to ensure that families and communities who stand to benefit most from the expansion also benefit first.

Local authorities are working closely with a range of ELC providers to prepare for August 2020. Phasing looks different across the country, with some councils offering additional hours in specific settings or postcode areas, and others gradually increasing the ELC entitlement for the vast majority of families. Over 11,000 two to five year olds are already benefitting from more than 600 hours of funded ELC, including over 1,100 eligible two year olds. We are already hearing about the positive impacts of additional funded ELC from families and ELC practitioners.

Within their advice the Poverty and Inequality Commission recommended that the Scottish Government “model the potential impact of investment in early learning and childcare on the child poverty targets through enabling parents to work, or work more”.

We are already taking firm action on this recommendation. The Scottish Study of Early Learning and Childcare (SSELC) is collecting information that will help the Scottish Government to evaluate the extent to which the following benefits of ELC expansion have been achieved:

  • Children’s development improves and the attainment gap narrows
  • Increased family resilience through improved health and wellbeing of parents and children
  • More parents will have the opportunity to be in work, training, or study

It is very challenging to accurately predict in advance the impacts on parental employment. Previous studies in other countries have found widely varying impacts, and differences in context and the services offered mean they may not translate to the current situation in Scotland.  In Scotland we are aiming to maximise the potential impact of the expansion of early learning and childcare on increased opportunities for parents to be in work, training or study through fully making the connection to, and building on the momentum created by, employability initiatives referred to elsewhere in this report including the Parental Employability Support Fund.


  • Around 80,000 households stand to benefit from the expanded entitlement.
  • At least 11,000 children already benefitting from an increase in hours.
  • By 2020, all three and four year olds and eligible two year olds will be entitled to 1140 hours a year of funded ELC, worth £4,500 per child per year.
  • Reduces essential family costs for those who would otherwise need to pay for childcare, which aims to reduce risk of material deprivation.
  • Makes it easier for parents to work more and increase family incomes, aiming to impact on all four targets.

Case study – Early Learning and Childcare:

Jemma*, a single mum from Edinburgh, has a two year old daughter, Lucy. Jemma’s mum had been looking after Lucy while Jemma looked for work, however Jemma had been wondering whether Lucy needed more time with children her own age and more time and space to play and learn.

Jemma was still in touch with a Family Nurse, Alice, she met when Lucy was first born. Alice now works as a Health Visitor and knows about the Council’s offer for funded early learning and childcare for two year olds.

Alice thought Lucy would be eligible for a place and helped Jemma get in touch with the Council. Working together, the Council team, Alice and Jemma found a place that suited Jemma and Lucy. The Council is phasing in the new 1140 offer, which meant Lucy could start going to nursery four days a week from 8am – 2pm. She can go almost all year round. This enabled Jemma to find a part-time job that fits around her family’s needs. It makes a big difference to Jemma knowing Lucy is well looked after while she is at work.

Jemma’s mum wasn’t sure nursery was right for Lucy as she’s so young. But when she saw the nursery and met the staff, she realised they were brilliant at responding to Lucy’s interests and giving her opportunities to play and learn.

Jemma really sees the difference nursery is making to Lucy – she has come on leaps and bounds in her speech and understanding and has made some great friends.

Quote from Jemma: 

“Lucy’s teachers spent time supporting us, never rushing for her to leave me, working out what routine was best. Knowing the time they spent with her and attention they gave her put me at ease. Getting back to work has really helped me to be the best mum I can be and watching Lucy’s independence and confidence grow has been the most satisfying part of the journey.”

*Names have been changed

After School And Holiday Childcare

In 2018-19, a dedicated team was established to develop a strategic framework for after-school and holiday childcare. The team has worked collaboratively with a wide range of stakeholders to assess the current picture in relation to out of school care in order to inform our developing policy.

Early establishment of an out of school care reference group allowed us to agree a vision for out of school care in Scotland, and to consider the changes which might be required within the system and the barriers which exist to enabling that change. Our vision will form the centrepiece of our draft strategic framework due to be published for consultation later this year. This policy is in the early stages of development but we have been keen to engage with a range of key user groups to ensure our future policy better meets the needs of children and families in Scotland.

  • Parents and Carers – we have commissioned a survey of 2000 parents of children aged 5-13 to understand their views on out of school care. This included parents who don’t currently use out of school care and those from low income families. We also engaged groups of parents from a wide range of backgrounds including lone parents, parents of disabled children, parents with lived experience of poverty and kinship carers.
  • Children – we have gathered data from recent surveys to look at children’s views of out of school care. We also delivered theatre workshops within after school clubs to ask children their views about what they would like to do after school and in the school holidays.
  • The Out of School Care sector (including childminders) – we delivered a number of regional events across Scotland engaging with those working in the out of school care sector. We have also surveyed childminders across Scotland and engaged with individual childminders to gather their views.

We will also reflect upon the Poverty and Inequality Commission’s advice on ‘poverty in school holidays’ in this process. This intensive engagement will continue as we develop the policy, and consider all types of provision for children and families during the holiday period, ensuring it is affordable and accessible. The issue of how food can be best integrated into provision will also be considered alongside wider actions to tackle food insecurity.

Out of School Care Fund

In order to test theories of change we have created a £3 million fund for delivering community based childcare and activities which will help to reduce the cost of living for low income families (by providing subsidised or low cost childcare for school aged children), coupling it with support to enter employment or training or to increase current hours of work. The fund will be delivered over a two year period starting in April 2020, supported by investment from the Tackling Child Poverty Fund. The activities and resources on offer through these projects will also deliver equal opportunities for children from low income families to access a wide range of social play-based experiences which for many are currently out of reach.

We will maximise opportunities to align this fund with the £12 million Parental Employment Support Fund (PESF) and the £6 million investment to support disabled parents considering how this can provide parents with a wider package of support. We will work to shape the project criteria, including discussion on eligibility and guidance to ensure maximum impact and that key delivery partners are fully aware of the child poverty reduction potential of the fund.

Across the fund we would expect to see all six groups and children’s outcomes positively impacted and would expect evaluation of the impact of funding to measure child poverty outcomes. We would measure these outcomes linked to employability as well as in relation to children’s health and wellbeing. Specific eligibility criteria will be developed with suitable partners over the coming months. We would expect the projects to consist of a mix of before, after school and holiday childcare provision and also include food provision where this adds value.

The fund will:

  • Test the change required to remove the barriers of school aged childcare costs for low income families as a driver for reducing child poverty
  • Test the change required to deliver our vision for after school and holiday childcare
  • Provide solutions to enabling equal opportunities for all children to enjoy a full range of play experiences outside of school
  • Consider appropriate models of delivery which can support this change.
  • Provide robust evidence of the social impact and positive outcomes for children and families which access to affordable, accessible and flexible after school and holiday childcare and activity programmes can deliver.

New Help With The Cost Of The School Day

An Increased School Clothing Grant

An estimated 120,000 children each year are benefitting from an increased School Clothing Grant – helping low income families meet the costs of their child’s school uniform, sports equipment and other essentials. The announcement about this increased support was made in May 2018, two months after the publication of the Delivery Plan.

A new minimum grant of £100 per eligible child was agreed by every local authority in Scotland and was introduced at the start of the 2018-19 academic year. This represents a significant increase from previously, where the grants paid were as low as £40. Six authorities have chosen to pay more than £100, with the highest level now set at £140.

The Scottish Government and our partners in local authorities are jointly funding this enhanced grant, having contributed £6 million each in 2018-19. The minimum amount to be paid will be reviewed every two years to ensure that the levels paid continue to reflect the costs of buying these essential items.


  • A new minimum annual payment of £100 per child – increasing by £60 the previous lowest amount
  • Six councils pay more than the minimum
  • 120,000 children benefitting each year
  • Reduces costs of the school year for families
  • Especially helpful for larger families

The Children’s Parliament thought the minimum School Clothing Grant is a good idea and it had been set at the right level. They highlighted that being unable to afford new uniform at the start of each school year or replacing lost, damaged, or outgrown items might mean that children feel unhappy and different from others who have proper school uniform.

"If you don’t have the right uniform or sports kit or equipment, you feel left out."
Member of the Children’s Parliament Age 11

Enhancing the reach of School Clothing Grants through automation

Our new Innovation Fund is supporting work in North Lanarkshire, backed by investment of £70,000 in 2019-20, to help the Council explore ways in which it can automate entitlement of school age benefits using its own data. The aim is to improve the lives of families by reducing or removing some of the costs associated with the school day. Auto-enrolment in North Lanarkshire will build on the positive steps taken by Glasgow City, Dundee City, Highland and other councils to ensure that uptake of entitlements such as School Clothing Grants are maximised.

The National Child Poverty Coordinator, funded through the Tackling Child Poverty Fund, has been supporting this development. She has been sharing good practice and bringing together local authorities from across the country at national learning events.

Learning from this project will be disseminated across all local authorities and will make it easier for all eligible families to receive the full support they are entitled to. We will also work with Councils on how we share data on the Scottish Child Payment to further increase their work reaching families in their communities.

Reducing Food Insecurity In The School Holidays

We know that food insecurity is a considerable worry for households in Scotland. For some families, the additional cost of the school holidays and the loss of support that is available during term time, such as Free School Meals, can tip the balance of household finances and can mean people struggle with the cost of food. This challenge cuts across a number of issues, including nutrition, childcare, and fun activities for young people. That is why we asked the Poverty and Inequality Commission to provide us with advice on how to best address this.

To recognise the importance of this issue, we have increased investment to tackle food insecurity among children from £0.5 million to £2 million in 2019-20, bringing the total for the Fair Food Fund to £3.5 million. This action addresses the Children’s Parliament recommendation that due to the affordability of food being an issue for most families, more should be done to tackle it.


  • 70,000 children are estimated to have benefitted
  • Directly impacts costs of living for families
  • Additional support will benefit larger families in particular

The Tackling Child Poverty Fund supported this investment with £100,000 in 2018‑19 and will provide a further £500,000 in 2019-20. This resource has supported a range of third sector organisations in both rural and urban areas to deliver engaging holiday activity programmes that include nutritious meals from the summer holidays in 2018 to February half-term holidays. The range of projects supported reflects the different approaches that can be taken. However, we are clear that approaches which take a dignified approach and offer activities and/or other services to children and families are most effective.

Behind all of this work is a significant effort to ensure we are working in a more collaborative way both internally across Scottish Government and externally with local authorities, the third sector and other stakeholders. This will help build momentum, trial new approaches and develop a clear plan of action for the future to eradicate food insecurity during the school holidays. We have invested in projects that work across boundaries, for example, linking sport and activity with food and out of school care. We will also look for opportunities to identify and share the successes that local authorities and schools are having through our £750 million Attainment Scotland Fund.

Case studies:

Our funding to Cash for Kids is supporting the Printfield Community Project in Aberdeen. This funding allowed the project to provide lunches for 130 children living with disadvantage for six weeks during the summer holidays. Children were involved in choosing healthy, filling meals and snacks and also preparing them and sitting down with friends to enjoy the meal.

One attendee, age five, commented:

“I love coming to club because we get to eat as much food as we like and there is always lots of food”

A parent of four said:

“The holiday club has meant so much to us and has taken pressure off me to find extra money for meals”.

We are also providing funding to Achieve More Scotland to support the delivery of fun holiday camps, with access to sport activities throughout the Spring, Summer, October and Christmas holiday periods in Glasgow and West Lothian for 400 attendees each day. This third sector project works closely with local authorities to unlock access to community resources, such as sports centres and school gym halls during the school holidays, and go out into the community with mini-buses to pick up children and young people and ensure they can get to camp. They also link with a social enterprise organisation to provide healthy hot meals to the children and young people attending camp each day, and link with local businesses to provide fruit and bottles of water.

One attendee, commented:

“I love dancing and gymnastics. I have been coming for years and it has helped me so much. I love the food, I have made new friends and the coaches are great.”

A parent of three said:

“My daughter loves camp. She can’t sleep the couple of days before it begins because she is so excited. The food helps me a lot as summer is really expensive when you have three kids and two of them are under four. I can’t wait until they are old enough and they can come here and enjoy it. What a difference the food makes.” 

Further Support On Costs Of The School Day

We awarded grant funding of £31,500 to the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) Scotland to fund a national project manager and to continue to deliver the Cost of the School Day (COSD) project through 2018-19. This funding is part of the £750 million investment to tackle the poverty related attainment gap. CPAG provided a range of support to local authorities, head teachers, teachers, COSD champions and newly qualified teachers. They gathered and shared best practice and developed a COSD rural research project to understand challenges in rural schools and communities.

Further grant funding of £75,300 has been allocated to CPAG in 2019-20, increasing the investment in the project to over £100,000 over two years, to support the progression of the rural work and respond to the recommendations from an evaluation of the COSD project which is due to be published later this year.

This was also a key recommendation from the children involved in the Children’s Parliament scrutiny of the draft progress report that this work should be continued to ensure participation in school life was equitable for all.

New Support, Incentives And Rewards With The Young Scot Card

Young Scot launched phase 1 pilot innovative projects by delivering new entitlements via the National Entitlement Card (NEC) in three initial pilot local authorities (Renfrewshire, North Ayrshire and Highland) in 2018-19.

The overall aim of the project is to tackle inequalities, improve attainment and challenge rural poverty in a non‑stigmatising way. This is backed by funding of £374,392 over three years. 

Case study – Renfrewshire Young Scot Card:

Renfrewshire Council appointed a Modern Apprentice to support the Youth Services Team to work with groups of young people in the area. Over a hundred young people are accessing entitlements, including through Renfrewshire Youth Voice, young carers groups, young people identified from local attainment schools and through Who Cares? Scotland and Homelink contacts and young people at Longcroft Children’s Unit.

The target groups are in receipt of smart travel entitlements, allowing them free travel around the local authority through their Young Scot NEC.

In addition, Homelink identified a number of young people who would benefit from a daily breakfast entitlement; encouraging morning attendance at school and improving attainment. This entitlement plan, in partnership with a local café, aims to test a model of practice which can be rolled out to other local authorities and scaled up with new technology to read the Young Scot NEC when available.

The project should focus on proving concepts and testing models of practice to show impact for longer term initiatives. After sharing lessons learned from phase 1, phase 2 of the pilot project began in April 2019 with Dundee, North Lanarkshire and Falkirk participating.

Ensuring Housing Affordability

We are moving forward with a range of actions to ensure everyone has access to a safe, warm, affordable place to call home. We have demonstrated that commitment through our record of delivering 86,000 homes since 2007 and investing £1 billion in energy efficiency measures by 2021.

We are firmly on track to deliver our ambitious target of 50,000 affordable homes by March 2021. We estimate that around 16,000 of the 50,000 homes will directly benefit families, helping about 27,000 children.

Since April 2016 to March 2019 we have delivered 25,405 affordable homes and, since the launch of the Delivery Plan at the end of March 2018, we have successfully delivered over 9,500 affordable homes, including 6,573 for social rent (by end March 2019) backed by the single biggest investment in affordable housing since devolution totalling £3.3 billion.

In order that the right type of homes are provided in the right locations for those most in need, local authorities and their partners have a key role to play in assessing local housing need and demand. Social landlords allocate social rented homes delivered as part of the affordable housing supply programme based on an applicant’s housing need and circumstances, with housing need likely to correlate strongly with low income and with the characteristics of the priority groups within the child poverty delivery plan.

The Poverty and Inequality Commission recognises the progress that has been made towards the target of delivering at least 50,000 affordable homes, although it has noted the need to understand more on the detail of particular benefits of this investment on child poverty. Impact of the Affordable Housing Supply Programme is currently monitored through a range of data available, including Scottish Household Survey data on the characteristics of social rented households over time. We are exploring if there are ways of collecting additional information that would allow the impact of affordable housing supply on child poverty to be measured in more detail.

We are continuing our work to end homelessness by moving to a system of rapid rehousing and Housing First backed by around half our £50 million Ending Homelessness Fund. This will help families spend less time in temporary accommodation and into settled homes. But temporary accommodation is an important safety net so, when it is required, we want it to be of a high quality. We have therefore amended our Unsuitable Accommodation Order to ensure that families with children and pregnant women spend no more than seven days in unsuitable accommodation, such as B&Bs. We are currently consulting on bringing in a legally enforceable standards framework to ensure that accommodation provided is of consistently good quality, safe, warm and affordable.

Since 2003-04 the estimated number of children in poverty in the private rented sector has approximately doubled to 60,000. Our new private residential tenancy came into place in December 2017 and introduced the most significant change in private renting in Scotland for almost 30 years. The new tenancy provides a range of measures to help increase security and tackle high rents, including the abolition of ‘no fault’ eviction; limiting rent increases to once in 12 months (with three months’ notice required); enabling tenants to challenge unfair rent increases for adjudication by a Rent Officer; and providing local authorities with new discretionary powers to designate an area as being a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ).

We are working closely with the Nationwide Foundation which is working on a major longitudinal, qualitative and quantitative research project on the new Private Residential Tenancy and its impact on low-income tenants in Scotland. We will fully consider the outputs, and any key recommendations, which emerge from the Nationwide evaluation project.

In 2018-19, we began a programme of work into affordable rents with a child poverty focus. This work has included research into rent affordability in the affordable housing sector, which was published in June. This research was welcomed by the Poverty and Inequality Commission, and further activities are ongoing. We have established a steering group to manage future work.

In September 2018, we published a discussion paper on future housing options. This highlighted that tackling child poverty is a key challenge and that our vision for homes and communities by 2040, and the route map to get there, must address this. We also published a report on stakeholder feedback in May 2019 and will look to widen this consultation later in 2019.

We also want to progress our commitment to ensure housing is affordable for families. So over June 2019, we held workshops with academics and housing stakeholders to explore what we are all doing now on the housing challenge in relation to child poverty; what we think could be done over the next five years; and what we think should be priority actions in 2019-20. Specifically, these workshops considered the challenges and opportunities around rent affordability, non-housing costs (especially energy costs) and income maximisation with a view to developing a programme of work which will show how all of our combined activities aim to make an impact on child poverty by reducing housing and housing-related costs.


  • Ensuring adequate supply helps limit rent increases
  • 27,000 children estimated to benefit across the five years of the 50,000 affordable homes target
  • An estimated 3,050 households with children helped into affordable housing in 2018-19

New Help With Fuel Poverty

We are truly committed to making homes warmer and cheaper to heat. Key to reducing household spend on energy costs is increasing the uptake of the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS). This includes the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme and ensuring we target fuel poverty and energy efficiency support measures at those most in need.

In order to increase the uptake of Warmer Homes Scotland among low income families, the Energy Saving Trust carried out a marketing exercise. This helped to achieve an increase in the number of referrals to Warmer Homes Scotland compared to the same period the previous year. In 2018-19, 5,728 households were referred to Warmer Homes Scotland via the Home Energy Scotland helpline.

In the financial year 2018-19, Warmer Homes Scotland invested just over £24 million by installing measures in more than 3,800 properties, helping these households to save on average £298 per annum off their fuel bills. We announced an additional £38 million of funding for a two year extension to Warmer Homes Scotland.

Scottish Government funding per fuel poor household has risen for every council area in 2019-20 as part of our Area Based Schemes (ABS) to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency. The average amount of ABS funding available for fuel poor households in 2019-20 across Scotland has increased by 18% compared with 2017-18. This increase partly reflects a reduction in the overall number of fuel poor households but also better targeting of resources.

In June 2018, we introduced the Fuel Poverty (Target, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Bill. This was approved by Parliament in June 2019. The key focus of the Bill was to set new targets; strengthen the definition of fuel poverty and align it more closely with income poverty to ensure that resources are more effectively directed at those with the greatest need; and to set out a new strategy for delivery. The new definition will see a shift to include low income families with children as fuel poor and requiring support to make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat.

Alongside the Bill, we published a draft Fuel Poverty Strategy and will be working with stakeholders, including local authorities and those with lived experience of fuel poverty, to develop the final strategy.

Members of the Children’s Parliament recognised this as a key issue.

"Hopefully there will be fewer people in poverty because they have better houses."
Member of the Children’s Parliament Age 11


  • Increasing energy efficiency of the home helps reduce fuel costs for families, and can reduce the risk of material deprivation
  • All priority groups can benefit from this support
  • In 2018-19, 5,728 households were referred to Warmer Homes Scotland via the Home Energy Scotland helpline
  • Warmer Homes Scotland delivers average fuel bill savings of around £300 per year
  • Households typically receive over £4,000 worth of measures
  • In 2017/18 our Area Based Schemes delivered energy efficiency measures to around 8,000 households.
  • Typically these were ‘hard to treat’ insulation measures worth up to £9,000 per property. This type of measure provides a long term improvement with energy savings of between £200 and £300 per year for 30-40 years.

Case study – Home Energy Scotland:

Rana* was living with her family, including her young daughter, in a home with a broken heating system and no insulation, meaning her family was constantly cold. She contacted Home Energy Scotland (HES) to see what help she might be eligible to receive and was referred to Warmworks for a survey to be arranged to assess her home under Warmer Homes Scotland. Rana was found to be eligible for a full gas heating system and loft insulation under the scheme, all of which were installed at no cost to her.

The installation was inspected a few days later and found to be installed to the correct specifications and in line with Warmworks’ quality standard. The Energy Efficiency rating in Rana’s home went from 5 to 58, which means she and her family are now living in a warmer, more energy efficient home.

Rana has really noticed the difference in terms of the quality of life her whole family enjoys, but particularly her youngest child.

“My little one is a lot happier now as she used to cry because she was so cold; to see a difference in her face is great. We don’t have to wear two coats anymore just to stay warm.”

“You can notice how fast the house heats up compared to the old system. I have also noticed my bills have dropped too and it’s been great to have a bit more money to spend on other things.”

*Names have been changed

New Help For Income Maximisation And To Tackle The Poverty Premium

We are taking action so that households are able to take advantage of all the financial support available to them and to help them access the best deals for essential goods and services.

Within the Delivery Plan, we committed to three actions focussed on providing financial support. We explored the best way to make those on lower incomes aware of the support available and how to access it. We combined the proposed income maximisation, council tax reduction and benefit uptake campaigns into one Financial Health Check service.

This made access clearer for the target audience, enabled us to use resources more effectively and therefore potentially reach a wider audience, and meant those on lower incomes were able to access holistic support.

Coupled with services provided through other channels, such as health settings and affordable credit providers, this adds to a strong range of advice and support to families.

New Financial Health Check Service

Backed by £3.3 million investment over two years, the Financial Health Check service was launched in November 2018 to help low income families and older people maximise incomes, reduce household costs, and help avoid the ‘poverty premium’ of paying more for essential goods and services.

The new service can be accessed through Scotland’s network of local Citizens Advice Bureaux in person and by phone. Those accessing the service receive support to maximise their income through identifying entitlement to key reserved and devolved benefits, the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and other local authority delivered benefits. The 17 elements covered in the check also supports families to get the best value for essential goods and services, for example, more cost-effective energy tariffs, helping to manage and tackle debt, and access to affordable credit options.

We are now exploring an online Financial Health Check so people can access the service and get information at any time, whilst also always having a face to face option.

The Children’s Parliament considered it to be “a good thing” to have a service helping people claim benefits they are entitled to.

To maximise the reach and impact, we undertook a national marketing campaign in January consisting of radio adverts, national and local press coverage and social media activity. This was complemented by targeted marketing local bureaux undertook within their area, which included local promotional events and awareness sessions and work with partner organisations.

Later this year we will also undertake a further national marketing campaign this summer to promote the service at a time when financial pressures are felt and expenses like new uniforms and school shoes have to be met.

The Children’s Parliament considered it to be “a good thing” to have a service helping people claim benefits they are entitled to.

"People shouldn’t be embarrassed [about accessing benefits]."
Member of the Children’s Parliament Age 11


  • 15,000 households a year expected to receive support from the service once fully operational
  • Reduces household costs for families
  • Maximises their incomes from social security and benefits in kind
  • 3,889 households reached in first six months, of which 995 families with children
  • Total financial gain reported was £2.5 million, of which £1.06 was from families with children

How has this new service helped families in Scotland?

Case study 1 – Financial Health Check:

Sharon* is a single parent and lives with her two year old daughter in a socially rented house. She was made redundant in 2016 and unfortunately hasn’t been able to return to work since.

She used the money she received from her redundancy to pay off debt she had at the time and has managed to stay out of debt since then. She currently receives Income Support, Child Tax Credits, and full Housing Benefit, and pays only the water and waste charges on her property.

She accessed the Financial Health Check service, and whilst a benefit check did not reveal any further benefits that she could claim, she was advised about (and subsequently claimed) Healthy Start vitamins, funded Early Learning and Childcare for her daughter, and was also signposted to a local organisation who offer practical support to single mothers who find themselves in difficulty.

Sharon was also advised about the Best Start Grant Early Years payment for two to three year olds which she subsequently claimed and received a one off payment of £250. A price comparison check identified a saving of £10 per month on her utility bills which prompted her to switch supplier.

*Name has been changed

Case Study 2 – Financial Health Check:

Jenny* is a single parent with a four year old child and pregnant with her second child. She is currently a full time student and also works part time to provide for her son.

Unable to access the local bureaux, Jenny contacted the Financial Health Check Helpline to enquire about maternity pay. After learning about her circumstances, the friendly adviser informed her that she could claim Maternity Allowance and that this would not be affected by her being a student. However, as she also received Child Tax Credits, she was advised that she would be eligible for the new Best Start Pregnancy and Baby payment and the Baby Box.

Jenny was delighted with the news and subsequently claimed these grants and, along with the Baby Box, received the Best Start grant of £300, and £140 per week in Maternity Allowance. This resulted in an overall gain of more than £5,600 to her annual income.

*Name has been changed

Health And Income Maximisation

Income maximisation help is not restricted to the Financial Health Check.

In recognition of the unique position of health services to support families at key transition stages, we provided funding of £250,000 to NHS Health Boards in 2018-19 to support income maximisation services in health settings, with a further investment of £250,000 to be made in 2019-20 from our Tackling Child Poverty Fund.

We also funded a Welfare Advice Services Adviser to the end of 2018-19 to promote the use of Welfare Advisers principally in Primary Care and Maternal Health settings. The adviser is working with Health Boards, Local Authorities and primary care practices across Scotland. This draws on strong evidence that placing advisers in such settings can have a significant impact on the uptake of benefits and maximises incomes for vulnerable patients. This work will continue into 2019-20.

New Support For Affordable Credit

Income maximisation help is crucial to reducing child poverty, but we know that sometimes that won’t be enough. Families will be claiming every benefit they are entitled to, but still their incomes will fluctuate and they will look to borrow small sums of money to tide them over. However, the risk is that they will be charged high levels of interest which they may then struggle to pay back, driving them deeper into debt.

To help tackle this, we invested £1 million into the Affordable Credit Fund in 2018‑19, match-funding the initial investment made by the Carnegie UK Trust. The Fund is further supported by £80,000 from our Tackling Child Poverty Fund to allow social lenders borrowing from the Affordable Credit Fund to market their services.

This funding enables not-for-profit social lenders, such as Community Development Financial Institutions and Credit Unions, to provide access to mid-cost credit to low income households. The Fund will be available to these lenders as a repayable loan over 10 years to help grow the affordable credit sector in Scotland. Alongside making loans, these social lenders offer wider financial inclusion advice and support to help increase borrowers’ financial sustainability, such as opening a bank account, debt advice and help in claiming benefits. The first payment from the Fund was made in October 2018 to Fair For You, a not-for-profit credit provider which specialises in loans for essential home items.

How is affordable credit different?

Case study – Conduit Scotland:

Amanda* visited Conduit Scotland (a not-for-profit community lender) looking to borrow £700 as she needed new floorcoverings and a washing machine. Amanda has two young children, so when her washing machine had broken, it was essential she got a new one as soon as possible. She also had no floor covering on her kitchen floor and her living room carpet was threadbare.

Amanda wasn’t able to access a loan from the bank and had very few options available. She had already considered a doorstep lender or using hire purchase to meet her needs – which would mean paying much more.

By accessing an affordable credit lender she was approved the same day for a loan to be repaid over a 26 week period. Conduit carried out checks to ensure Amanda could afford the repayments and, through broader advice and support offered, helped her to reduce her utility bills and maximise her benefit income – linking her with a range of support available locally to meet her needs.

Owing to a lower APR, the total cost payable to Conduit Scotland was £833. If Amanda had taken the same loan from a doorstep lender, with an APR of 535%, this would have cost her £1,092**. A loan from Conduit Scotland saved Amanda £259, making her monthly payments £43 less than what they would have been had she resorted to a traditional high cost lender.

*Name has been changed
** Costs correct as of May 2019

New Help For Basic Essentials

We are taking action to support families with essential goods and services.

Access To Sanitary Products

Sanitary products are essential items but some families on low incomes can find it difficult to afford them. The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring access to sanitary products for low income families.

As a start to this work, we agreed a £5.2 million funding package between August 2018 and March 2019 with local authorities and the Scottish Funding Council to fund access to free sanitary products across educational establishments in Scotland. Since August 2018, up to 395,000 students attending schools, colleges and universities in Scotland have benefitted from this. We will be fully evaluating the provision in autumn 2019 which will continue through 2019-20. This is backed by an additional £4 million to local authorities by March 2020 to expand access to sanitary products across Scotland in a wider range of locations.

In May 2018, we also provided over £500,000 to FareShare to expand access to sanitary products to low income families through over 650 third sector partners, helping around 40,000 low income individuals to date. We will continue to work in partnership with a range of public and third sector organisations to increase the number and range of places in communities where these products are available for those who need them, and to encourage more organisations to take similar action.

C. Social Security

Social security has a key role to play in tackling child poverty, putting money directly in the pockets of those in need. Because the six priority groups are more likely to be excluded from the paid labour market, they are often more reliant on the social security system. Therefore, the impact of UK Government welfare cuts is even more apparent. However, while social security has the ability to lift significant numbers of children out of poverty, we are clear that reaching our child poverty targets cannot be achieved through this measure alone and long lasting change is needed.

Last year saw the passage of the Social Security (Scotland) Bill, establishing the first social security system in the UK, based on the statutory principle that social security is a human right. Since then we have established a new Social Security Agency, which currently employs 400 people, and paid £197 million to over 77,000 families and carers. We have also published our social security charter and established the Scottish Commission on Social Security. Scotland’s social security system is being shaped by people with direct experience of the current benefits system, through the use of Experience Panels. These panels were set up in 2017 and will run for four years – through this we are benefiting from the insights of more than 2,400 volunteers from across Scotland.

We have made strong progress in delivering new support in Scotland and will continue to deliver other devolved benefits in line with our ambitious timescales. We will also publish our first plan to support the uptake of devolved benefits in October 2019.

Here we have focused on our plans for the Income Supplement, called the Scottish Child Payment, and on the impact of the Best Start Grant. We have also included details of the new enhanced support through Best Start Foods.

A New Income Supplement

Given the key role of social security in tackling child poverty, a commitment was made to work towards introducing a new income supplement for low income families who need it most within the lifetime of the Plan (2018-2022); and that appropriate steps would be taken to ensure that it met two tests:

1. It is targeted at those families who need it, therefore helping to lift the maximum number of children out of poverty.

2. There is a robust and viable delivery route to get it to families, and that the delivery costs are reasonable – ensuring we maximise the resources available.

2018-19 saw the Scottish Government making substantial progress towards the introduction of a new income supplement.

This new benefit, called the Scottish Child Payment, will be made to children under the age of 6 before the end of this parliamentary term (March 2021) and to all eligible children aged under 16 by the end of 2022.

The Scottish Child Payment will be administered by Social Security Scotland through an application-based process and will be a payment of £10 a week for each eligible child in the family – paid on a regular basis.

We have published a policy position paper that sets out the process of development of the Scottish Child Payment and the expected policy impacts it will have. This has been published alongside the Analysis of Options for the Income Supplement – a detailed analytical paper that shows the consideration given to a wider set of policy options.

As set out in detail in those papers, the first stage in the policy development process was to establish a set of key objectives to help guide the development of the Scottish Child Payment to determine potential options and support future evaluation.

The second stage, guided by these objectives, was to develop a number of policy options and test these with stakeholders. We have hosted roundtables with key stakeholders –with CoSLA and local authority representatives, and with third sector and anti-poverty organisations, academics, and representatives of priority family groups – and met with wider interested groups.

These events were designed to provide stakeholders an overview of the development of the Scottish Child Payment, and also to gather their views on potential options and guide the criteria we use to evaluate those.

The third stage was to undertake detailed policy modelling, to analyse the potential policy costs and impact on poverty, and complement it with a thorough consideration of how options compare against key criteria that would contribute to the success of the policy.

Delivering a new benefit on the scale of the Scottish Child Payment inevitably comes with challenges. Delivery of the Payment will take place at the same time that the Scottish Government is also taking over delivery responsibility for many of the benefits devolved under the Scotland Act, including the complex disability and carer benefits. Further work will be undertaken over the summer to determine more detailed implications and considerations for delivery.

In recognition of the urgency to introduce the Scottish Child Payment, we will do so through secondary legislation, using our powers to top up reserved benefits. We will introduce regulations by the end of 2019 and these will be submitted to the Scottish Commission on Social Security for scrutiny.

Impact of the Scottish Child Payment

  • At full roll out, an estimated 410,000 children will be eligible for the Scottish Child Payment
  • It has the potential to reduce child poverty by 3 percentage points, lifting 30,000 children out of poverty.
  • Two-thirds of recipients are estimated to be living in households in the lowest three deciles of the income distribution

A New Best Start Grant

We have delivered key components of the new Best Start Grant over 6 months ahead of schedule, providing crucial financial support to families when they need it most.

The Best Start Grant (BSG) Pregnancy and Baby Payment was introduced on 10 December 2018, with an exceptional response by applicants. The value of payments to a family’s first child increased from £500 to £600 by comparison with the previous Sure Start Maternity Grant (SSMG) and introduced a £300 birth payment for second and subsequent children – which is not available anywhere else in the UK.

By 28 February 2019, we had already awarded over £3.5 million to low income families in Scotland, helping to cover the cost of essentials such as cots and prams for their new child.

Since the end of 2018-19, we’ve made significant progress on the other two BSG payment stages. 


  • BSG directly increases household income through social security
  • £3.5 million was paid to more than 9,700 low income families in Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment in the first three months of operation
  • 7,300 of those families would have received no support through SSMG
  • Families will receive financial support worth £1,100 in the early years for their first child and £800 for second and subsequent children

On 29 April, Social Security Scotland started taking applications for the BSG Early Learning Payment. This payment provides £250 per child, to help with the costs of child development, at the age of two or three years old; around the time that a child may be making the transition to nursery. The payment can be used for anything from children’s clothes and shoes to toys and days out.

Applications for the BSG School Age Payment opened on 3 June, offering low income parents a further £250 around the time their child starts school. There is no UK equivalent for the new Early Learning and School Age Payments.

Scottish Fiscal Commission

The Scottish Fiscal Commission (SFC) forecasts estimate that the total number of Best Start payments made annually to low income households will be around 73,000 at a cost of £21 million based on 2019-20 figures.

Case study – Best Start Grant:

Emma*, a young single parent living in Glasgow, was 28 weeks pregnant with her second child. She was in receipt of Employment and Support Allowance and struggling to cope financially to provide items for herself and her family. Her financial situation was causing her stress and anxiety and although she had previously received the Sure Start Maternity Grant for her first child, she no longer had any of the essential items that she needed due to the length of time between their births.

Unlike the UK Government, the Scottish Government do not put a cap on the number of children they help with the Best Start Grant. Emma was delighted to learn that she was eligible for the new Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment and was assisted to apply for the new benefit by One Parent Families Scotland. When she received the £300 payment, she was able to go out and choose what items she needed and plan the room that her new baby would have.

Emma said:

“...I don’t usually have money to spend so it made me feel so good being able to go shopping for the baby.”

*Name has been changed

A New Best Start Foods

We know how important healthy food is for young families. But for too many families, maintaining a healthy diet is a daily challenge, with poverty and deprivation being a barrier to this. That’s where our new Best Start Foods programme – providing direct financial support to low income families to support a healthy diet in the earliest of years – comes in.

Best Start Foods is the Scottish Government replacement for the UK Healthy Start Voucher scheme following the devolution of Welfare Foods powers in Scotland. Best Start Foods will provide direct financial support to access a healthy diet to pregnant women and families with children under the age of three on certain benefits.

In April 2018, shortly after the Delivery Plan was published, we started a formal consultation on what the replacement Scottish scheme would look like. 147 respondents completed the consultation, – 75 individuals and 72 organisations – and an analysis of responses was published in October. This feedback, and ongoing consultation with stakeholders including parents throughout the year, has led to a number of important changes for the new Scottish approach. The remainder of the 2018‑19 reporting year was spent planning and agreeing these improvements.

Changes include:

  • Increasing the value of support families receive from £6.20 a week to £8.50 a week for children under one, and from £3.10 a week to £4.25 a week for pregnant mothers and children aged one and two who are eligible;
  • Expanding the universal eligibility for under 18s (which currently applies to pregnant women) to continue into the first year of the child’s life, so parents under 18 can benefit from double payments in the first year of their child’s life; and
  • Ensuring there is no limit to the number of children who can be supported.

By the time a child reaches three, recipients will receive an additional £112 through Best Start Food payments (from £899 in the UK scheme to £1,011 on the Best Start Foods scheme). 

Best Start Foods will be available through a pre-loaded payment card, helping to ensure families are not negatively impacted by the stigma of using paper vouchers, and are able to fully utilise this valuable support.

We are also expanding the range of foods families can purchase to include not only fresh/frozen fruit and vegetables, cow’s milk and first infant formula milk (suitable from birth), but also tinned fruit and vegetables, fresh/frozen/dried/tinned pulses (including lentils, peas, barley and beans) and eggs to provide greater choice.

These important changes will be introduced when Best Start Foods is launched in summer 2019. We expect this to be a considerable support to low income parents, particularly when joined up with other actions in the Plan. 


  • Low income families with a child under one will receive £8.50 each week – equivalent to £442 a year – per child
  • Pregnant women and children aged one and two who are eligible will receive £4.25 each week – equivalent to £221 per year
  • All priority families will benefit. Larger families and lone parents may benefit particularly. 


Impact Summary

Best Start Foods is a demand led budget. The annual estimated budget for Best Start Foods (and Healthy Start Vouchers) is expected to be £5 million in 2019‑20 and £6 million in 2020-21.

Potential to impact on all four of the targets.

Of particular benefit to parents with a child under one, due to higher payment value in a child’s first year, and to larger families, as the payment is per child.

Young mothers (under 18 years) are automatically eligible during pregnancy and until their child reaches one.

New Support For Carers

We know that carers are more likely to live in poverty and many have responsibility for children or are children themselves. We are determined to help.

In 2018-19, Carer’s Allowance Supplement helped 83,000 individuals, 99% of which were working age, with over 20,000 paid as the carers of disabled children – one of our priority family groups. We provided an extra £442 into carers’ pockets, an increase of 13% and an investment of over £33 million. This increased to an extra £452 (2.4%) this year as a result of our commitment to uprate all aspects of Carer’s Assistance annually by inflation.

Looking forward, a new Young Carer Grant will be introduced in autumn 2019. This will provide £300 to young carers aged 16‑18 who do not receive Carer’s Allowance. Ministers have also committed to providing additional payments to carers of more than one disabled child by spring 2021. It is estimated these payments will support around 1,900 carers. This support will be crucial to helping improve the lives of carers.

A New Job Grant

We are developing the Job Grant to support young people starting a new job. Aimed at eligible 16‑24 year olds (or 25 for care leavers) with a particular focus on young parents, it will help meet the initial costs of starting work, supporting a smooth transition into employment for around 4,000 young people on low incomes who may struggle ahead of receiving their first salary. This support will help ensure work is manageable for families over the first few months and is ultimately sustainable as a key step into a career.

We intend to provide a one–off cash payment of £400 for eligible young people who have responsibility for a child, and £250 for those without – backed by investment of around £1.2 million each year. We are currently progressing with policy development and design of the application process.

Widened Funeral Support Payment Eligibility

Later in summer 2019 our new Funeral Support Payment will provide financial support at the point of bereavement to eligible groups, including low income families with children. The Funeral Support Payment will mean around 40% more people are eligible for help towards funeral costs, and is backed by around £2 million extra funding on top of the UK Government allocation in its first year. We have committed to increasing the flat rate part of the payment each year to take into account the impact of inflation.

Expanded Eligibility For Winter Heating Allowance

From Winter 2020, any family in Scotland with a child who is in receipt of the higher rate component of Disability Assistance for Children and Young People will be eligible for Winter Heating Assistance (WHA). We propose that these families will benefit from a new £200 payment. We forecast that around 16,000 families will access this. We are seeking views on this as part of our consultation on Disability Assistance in Scotland, the responses will inform our approach.


Impact Summary

Investment of around £3 million per annum from Winter 2020.

Potential for impact on all four targets through income from social security for families with a disabled child.

D. Helping Families In Other Ways

We want children who currently live in low income families to achieve their full potential.

The timeline we have included in Section 1 sets out some of the key support that families can access throughout their lives. This ranges from the baby box of essential items on the birth of a child to fully-funded university tuition for every eligible individual.

One of our key aims is to help ensure that children and young people living in poverty now do not become the parents of children in poverty in 2030. Improving health, well‑being and quality of life, and helping families cope with adversity should improve long-term outcomes. Whilst many of these actions will not directly impact on the 2030 targets, by supporting children living in poverty today to reach their full potential, we will help ensure that reductions in poverty are sustainable for future generations.

The Social Mobility Commission, in its recent report, found that people in Scotland are “becoming significantly more socially mobile, as a person’s job and life chances are less determined by their socio-economic status at birth.” This highlights the value of our collective action.

This section provides additional detail on our work to support students to access further and higher education, funded through our Tackling Child Poverty Fund.

New Help For Children’s Neighbourhoods

If children grow up in successful, thriving communities, they and their families will be more resilient to disadvantage and poverty. That’s why we are funding new Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland (CNS) programme, led by the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Centre for Population and Health. This is a distinctive approach to improving outcomes for all children and young people in neighbourhoods with high levels of poverty. It has the empowerment of children, young people and communities at its core. CNS is working to join up efforts and services within a locality to reduce poverty, increase participation and capacity within communities, and support improvements in the poor childhood outcomes associated with disadvantaged settings.

The first CNS is in Bridgeton and Dalmarnock in the east end of Glasgow, an area in which over 45% of children are in poverty. After a period of trialling different approaches, CNS will, in partnership with local public, private and third sector organisations, set up further sites in urban areas, a small town and a rural community. In each case, the approach will target areas with high levels of child poverty and will focus on ensuring more coordinated and effective support and opportunities for those children and their families.

The focus is to promote the participation of children and young people, families and local organisations in identifying shared priorities for action. These further sites will be identified and projects rolled out over the next year. CNS is backed by investment of over £2 million by 2022 from our Tackling Child Poverty Fund. 

Children involved in the project told us why this new approach is so important to them:

“Children and young people always get the raw deal and decisions are always made for them and not with them.”

“Their voices are swept under the carpet by adults who think they know better … regardless of whatever the child has said, the adult still knows better so we need to try and raise some of those voices up.”

Support For Students And Communities From Further And Higher Education

Success in further and higher education makes success in later life more likely. Education should open the doors to opportunities which enable children and young people to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors to society. We want every child, no matter their background, to have an equal chance of entering and succeeding in higher education.

In 2018-19, we provided the significant financial investment in further and higher education of £1.8 billion. This total allocation included support for teaching, capital and research for both sectors, providing a minimum of 116,000 full‑time equivalent college and over 128,140 university places. Through this we have achieved a record number of Scottish students getting a place at university through UCAS.

Alongside support to encourage young people to access further and higher education, we have committed additional investment of £21 million each year, by the end of this Parliamentary term, in response to the recommendations made by the Student Support Review. This has been used to increase care-experienced bursaries across further and higher education (FE/HE) to £8,100 per year in 2018-19. From 2019-20, increases will be made to FE/HE bursaries, a ‘guaranteed’ FE bursary system will be introduced and we will make further improvements to the HE bursary income threshold. These improvements are expected to benefit around 31,000 students in HE and 7,000 in FE.

In order to increase awareness of the funding available to access higher and further education and the opportunities that education can bring, the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) established an action group on child poverty. The group explored and recommended how best to provide information to young people. They considered what approaches worked best, from leaflets to online information, and how young people would access this information. As a result the distribution of funding literature has been extended to now include libraries via local authorities, Citizens Advice Bureaux and Social Bite Scotland, targeting new audiences to encourage their participation in HE.

Funding literature and social media posts were also produced in alternative languages to target the most vulnerable ethnic communities, with social media material accessed over 150,000 times. SAAS has commenced work with Jobcentre Plus staff to raise awareness and offer support to work coaches on the funding available for claimants to enter further and higher education as a route out of poverty. SAAS will continue to work in partnership with Jobcentre Plus to extend this service to Jobcentres across Scotland.

SAAS also produced an awareness video targeted at S2 to S4 pupils which highlights available funding options for young people to continue their studies at college or university. The video Facebook campaign targeted the top 200 SIMD deprived areas and has been viewed by a significant number of the social media platform subscribers. This video highlights further and higher education as a real option for young people, irrespective of their family’s financial situation or personal circumstances.


  • 38,000 students will benefit from bursary changes in 2019-20
  • Bursary increases will directly increase household incomes
  • Improved educational outcomes may improve earned income for families long term

Making Sure Young People Receive Education Maintenance Allowance Payments

Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) is financial support for eligible 16 to 19 year olds who want to continue learning.

We have been in constant dialogue with local authority partners on how to improve the application process for EMA. As a result of discussions in 2018-19, we authorised the acceptance of online EMA applications. This change has helped to make the service more readily accessible and to speed up the processing of applications. We have also refreshed the mygov.scot EMA site to help direct applicants to the correct information and contacts for their particular query.

Looking forward, we recently met with members of the NHS Health Scotland Child Poverty Team who shared examples of best practice from local authorities who are committed to increasing the uptake of EMA in their council area. We will develop this partnership in the coming year to assist our commitment to an improved EMA service.

Tailored Learning Support For Gypsy/ Traveller Families With Children

The Delivery Plan acknowledged that Gyspy/Traveller children and young people are among the most disadvantaged in Scotland. The Plan committed to a new tailored community education programme for Gypsy/Traveller families.

The Ministerial Working Group on Gypsy/Travellers met throughout 2018-19 discussing how to improve outcomes in the key areas of accommodation, education, health and tackling poverty. The Scottish Government will now publish an action plan on these issues later this year.

£275,000 (2018-20) will be made available from the Equality Budget to improve the offer of education to Gypsy/Traveller children and young people across Scotland. The programme of actions will be delivered in partnership with STEP, Education Scotland and local authorities and Gypsy/Traveller families. This will pave the way for a further £500,000 (2020-22) from the Child Poverty Delivery Fund to work directly with Gypsy/Traveller families and other partners on the community education programme.

In addition, the Scottish Government is providing practical and financial support to the Young Gypsy Traveller Assembly and to the new Gypsy/Traveller Women’s Voices project, to help Gypsy/Travellers families be more involved in the decisions that affect their lives, not only in relation to education but a wide range of policies and services.

Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences

Responding to and better preventing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) is crucial for reducing child poverty over the longer-term.

The Scottish Government is focusing on four key areas of action here:

  • Providing inter-generational support for parents, families and children to prevent ACEs happening in the first place;
  • Reducing the negative impact of ACEs for children and young people already affected;
  • Developing adversity and trauma‑informed workforce and services; and
  • Raising awareness of ACEs and supporting action across communities. 

Action on parental imprisonment

We are helping build resilience for families to cope with parental imprisonment and reduce the impact of this ACE. By taking a preventative approach, we are working to reduce the number of people going to prison and continue to put greater emphasis on use of alternatives to custody to help maintain employment, tenancies and family links for individuals. For women in custody we are implementing a progressive new approach and will be opening a new national women’s facility and two community custody units in 2020-21.

To minimise the impacts of parental imprisonment on children, the Scottish Prison Service (SPS):

  • has invested in specialist services to provide support through Barnardos Here and Now at Polmont;
  • launched its new Child Protection policy in December 2018;
  • delivers parenting support in all prisons;
  • has engaged, across 7 establishments, with Early Years Scotland, delivering positive parenting support; and
  • has extended the number of Prison Visit Centres to 12 in the 15 prisons in Scotland – backed by £700,000 of funding in 2019-20. 

Increased Funding For Mental Health

Good mental health is crucial for children and families.

Our 2018 Programme for Government included a £250 million package of measures to do more to support positive mental health and prevent ill health. In December, we published a delivery plan for a range of commitments, including school counselling services; school nurses; mental health first aid training for teachers; and developing a community mental wellbeing service for 5-24 year olds.

We established a Children and Young People’s Mental Health Task Force in October 2018 as part of a comprehensive approach to improve support for children and young people’s mental health across health, education and children’s services. This is supported by a £5 million transformation fund. The Perinatal Managed Clinical Network published a report on perinatal and infant mental health in March 2019. To address the report’s recommendations we announced the establishment of a new Perinatal and Mental Health Programme Board. The board will oversee and manage £50 million of investment to improve access to mental health services for expectant and new mothers.

New Action On Transitions

The Poverty and Inequality Commission suggested that the Scottish Government should consider a transitions fund to help families and children at key milestones/crisis points.

As a direct response to this advice, we have begun an appraisal of the support already available. This work has already highlighted the generous package of support provided in Scotland which isn’t available elsewhere in the UK. Through our appraisal, we will identify the full range of support already in place and any potential gaps that exist.

We have also been examining whether it would be possible and desirable to implement a capital endowment or matched-savings plan for young people leaving the care system. We have been engaging with various partners and our next steps are to explore possible legislative options, consider how we might overcome potential delivery challenges and assess the proposal in light of the output of the Independent Care Review.

Action On Transport Strategy, Policies And Programmes

Transport can represent a significant cost in terms of accessing essential services or maintaining social connections with friends and family. It also plays a crucial role in supporting people’s ability to access new employment opportunities that bring higher incomes.

In recognition of this challenge we are engaging on our National Transport Strategy (NTS2) review to set out our ambitions for Scotland’s Transport system over the next 20 years. Our vision is We will have a sustainable, inclusive and accessible transport system helping to deliver a healthier, more prosperous and fairer Scotland for communities, business and visitors.

To facilitate the commitment in “Every Child, Every Chance”, the NTS2 team are engaging with stakeholders (Poverty Alliance, Child Poverty Action Group, One Parent Families Scotland, BEMIS, and Young Scot). We will then capture this engagement in an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA)/Child Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment (CRWIA). NTS2 will work towards a public consultation on a draft strategy this summer, in which our commitments on child poverty will be set out. It is anticipated the final strategy document will be published by the end of 2019.

In addition, work is also underway to review an extension of discounts on public transport available to 16-18 year olds to extend to those under the age of 26 (this incorporates a cost and benefits appraisal on extending free bus travel as any changes to the concessionary fares schemes must fully consider financial sustainability).

And we’re helping to connect families with opportunities by investing over £1 billion annually in public transport and other sustainable transport options. We made record investment of £202.1 million in 2018-19 in the concessionary travel scheme – supporting disabled people. And we are committed to extending the National Concessionary Travel Scheme to provide companion cards for eligible disabled children under age 5. This will provide the benefits of free bus travel to about 3,000 families and carers each year.

Support To Address Bullying

We established a working group to develop a consistent and uniform approach to recording and monitoring incidents of bullying in schools. A Support Group is now assisting local authorities to implement the new process on a phased approach. This will be fully implemented by August 2019.

respectme, Scotland’s anti-bullying service, continues to provide direct support to local authorities, youth groups and all those working with children and young people to build confidence and capacity to address all types of bullying effectively. We provided funding to LGBT Youth Scotland to work collaboratively with respectme to produce a resource and deliver practice seminars to address homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying which is in line with ‘Respect for All’.

We also funded Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER) to produce similar guidance in line with ‘Respect for All’, for schools to address bullying based on race. This was published in January 2019.

Facilitating Access To Music Education

We have worked with the Music Education Partnership Group, COSLA and key stakeholders on a group to identify solutions that help ensure instrumental music remains accessible to all. Guidance, highlighting potential unintended consequences and examples of good practice has been developed for local authorities to consider when taking funding decisions on instrumental music tuition. The COSLA Children and Young People Board have agreed that local authorities will not charge for tuition where children and young people are in receipt of free school meals, or are studying for a SQA qualification.

Targeted Opportunities For Cultural Participation

Our work with young people under the umbrella of Scotland’s youth arts strategy, Time To Shine and supported by initiatives including the Youth Music Initiative, Cashback for Creativity, Sistema Scotland, are designed to ensure that no-one’s background is a barrier to taking part in cultural life and giving young people all over Scotland a chance to take part in the arts.

Our long-standing investment of £118 million since 2007 in the Youth Music Initiative (YMI) has made a huge impact helping young people across Scotland access music making opportunities and develop their wider skills and learning.  CashBack for Creativity has helped engage over 43,000 young people in areas such as film making, dance and music helping them learn new skills, boosting their confidence. Sistema Scotland continues to have a significant and positive impact, increasing the confidence, aspirations and self-esteem of the 2,500 children and young people involved in the programme every week, backed by £2.5m four-year funding package (2016-17 and 2019-20).

We are developing a Culture Strategy for Scotland that will set out a vision and priorities for the future development of culture in Scotland. The strategy aims to develop opportunities for people to take part in culture and promote an inclusive and extended view of culture. The final strategy will be published in autumn 2019.

Improving Inclusion In Sport

Taking part in sport can be crucial to children’s health and well-being.

sportscotland launched their new corporate strategy, Sport for Life, on 1 May 2019, outlining the vision for an active Scotland where everyone can benefit from sport. The strategy is underpinned by inclusion. They want to help all children in Scotland get the most from the sporting system. They have a number of programmes that have an impact on tackling deprivation: Active Schools; Community sports hubs; and the Sport Facilities Fund.

Active Schools provides more and higher quality opportunities to take part in sport and physical activity before school, during lunchtime and after school, and to develop effective pathways between schools and sports clubs in the local community. It has been very successful in addressing the inequalities in participation between the areas of lowest and highest multiple deprivation seen in many other sport and physical activity programmes.


Impact Summary

£12 million for Active Schools

£1.5 million for community sport hubs

£2.6 million for Sports Facilities Fund

Likely to impact on cost of living, and feed through to the low income and material deprivation target.

Regular participation in sports during childhood is associated with lower levels of mental illness.

Improved parity of access reduces stigma.

Increased access to sport activities will improve health and wellbeing of children.

Community sport hubs bring together sport clubs and key local partners who want to develop and grow the sporting offering in the community. They focus on sustainable, community-led approaches that get clubs working together to develop welcoming, safe and fun environments for sport. Hubs are designed to respond to the needs of their communities. There are examples of hubs delivering sport programmes, which also tackle issues associated with poverty such as hunger during school holidays.

The Sport Facilities Fund supports capital projects that create or improve places where people take part in sport and physical activity. They provide enhanced support to club and community-led projects serving the most deprived communities, according to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD). Contributing up to 75% of the total project cost (up to maximum of £100,000) for projects serving deprived areas.

A New Resource For Disabled Children, Young People And Their Families

The Delivery Plan set out that we would develop a new online resource for disabled children, young people and their families, as well as for those working with them. In developing this online resource we engaged with a range of stakeholders, parents, carers and young disabled people across Scotland, and took account of their suggestions when developing the website. We utilised support from the Disabled Children and Young People Advisory Group and Young Disabled People’s Forum to work on their areas of expertise, particularly access. We know 14% of all children in poverty live in a family with a disabled child. This website, published in April 2019, will signpost families to financial support that they may have been unaware of and can be accessed. 

Work In Partnership With The Nhs On Children’s Health And Well-Being To Provide Extra Help For Families In The Early Years

In 2018-19, we took a range of action to enhance the support available to families through our partnership with the NHS.

We’re supporting better health outcomes and by 2021-22 we will have increased investment in Primary Care by £500 million per year. This funding includes support for delivery of 250 Community Link Workers to work in GP surgeries; connecting people

with local services and support. Investment in a package of measures to support positive mental health and prevent ill health – worth £250 million. And development of our 10 year Child and Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Action Plan.

We launched the neonatal expenses fund on 1 April 2018 with £1.5 million made available for families of babies in neonatal care to cover costs of travel and subsistence. An end of year one report will be published later in 2019, however the in-year report shows that 435 families were helped in the first four months of the scheme, totalling nearly £60,000 in claims. Funding for the scheme will continue in 2019-20.

We have increased the health visiting workforce by at least 509 (45.7%) since 2014. In addition, over the same period 804 health visitors have completed training with a further 270 in training.

As children of teenage parents are at particularly high risk of poor outcomes in the antenatal and post-natal period we are providing support through Family Nurse Partnership Programme. With an annual investment of around £16 million per year, the service is delivered to eligible mothers under 19 years in 11 health board areas and young mothers under 24 in some areas, reaching over 3,000 families at any one time. Work over the next year will identify how we can extend the programme to Island Boards.

E. Partnership Working

Delivering on our ambition to end child poverty is not something that can be achieved by government alone. As we said in our Fairer Scotland Action Plan, “It takes all of us to build a fairer Scotland”, including local and national government, third sector partners, business and people with lived experience.

The Poverty and Inequality Commission made clear in their advice that we should “have a greater focus on creating and improving jobs in relation to child poverty and should take account of the Commission’s research on inclusive growth”.

This is something we are absolutely committed to, and our partnership actions outline our progress and approach here. Since March 2018 we have taken a range of steps to maximise the impact of the partnerships we are involved in.

This includes adoption of the Place Principle to help overcome policy silos and organisational boundaries and improve the impact of our combined investment and resources throughout Scotland. Successful implementation requires the discipline of a more joined-up, collaborative and integrated approach to services, land and buildings; improving collaboration between communities and the public, private and third sectors; and the efficient and effective utilisation of our collective energy and resources.

This means that work and plans being led by Scottish Government and its agencies is taken forward in a way that is integrated and co-ordinated with those of other public service delivery partners to make good on our ambition to end child poverty.

We have provided a range of support for local partners to help tackle child poverty and develop local responses. In the past year a new national child poverty 

co-ordinator has been appointed, a new analytical partnership has been established, the Poverty Alliance have commenced delivery of their Get Heard Scotland programme and we brought the Fairer Scotland Duty into force. All of these actions together help to sharpen the focus across Scotland, and ensure that every pound spent can have the maximum impact for families in need.

Investing In Innovative Action To Tackle Child Poverty

Our partnership approach is supported by investment in innovative projects, which respond to local needs. This has been strengthened with the launch of the new Innovation Fund in partnership with the Hunter Foundation, the £16 million Families and Communities Fund and continued investment in the STV Appeal.

Innovation Fund

In May 2018 we launched a new Innovation Fund in partnership with the Hunter Foundation, worth £7.5 million by 2022.

Following a competitive application process we agreed to fund eight new projects, with a combined investment of £450,000. These projects demonstrated a range of innovative approaches including job training, school-based mentoring and support for lone parents.

Building on our existing strong partnership with the Hunter Foundation and the successful Social Innovation Partnership, we made further investments in five organisations already delivering highly impactful work. This takes total investment from the Innovation Fund for 2018-19 to approximately £720,000.

In the coming years we will identify suitable projects to benefit from further investment – maximising the impact of our investment and scaling up and replicating successful approaches.

What organisations are benefiting from this funding?

MCR Pathways:

Our increased investment is supporting MCR Pathways to expand its highly successful school-based mentoring programme. This is intended to ensure care-experienced and disadvantaged young people get the same education outcomes, career opportunities and life chances as other young people.

Already supporting over 1,300 young people weekly across all 30 Glasgow secondary schools, our investment is allowing MCR Pathways to expand its programme to more than 60 additional schools throughout the country as part of its three-year expansion plans.

MCR Pathways’ programme is about supporting these young people to achieve positive destinations – reducing the risk they will become the parents of children in poverty. Evidence from the programme in Glasgow points towards better staying on rates, better attainment and an increase in the number of young people going on to positive destinations

Many larger organisations encourage and support staff to become MCR Pathways mentors. Mentors, in turn, develop a greater appreciation of the reality of poverty and its impact on people’s live, becoming more empathetic and taking their experiences back to their own places of work and communities.

Flexible Childcare Services Scotland:

Linked to our action on out of school care, our increased investment has benefited Flexible Childcare Services Scotland (FCSS). FCSS champion the role of flexible childcare in supporting low income families to take up employment, increase their working hours or access educational opportunities.

We are working with FCSS as it shares its flexible childcare model and best practice with the wider Early Learning and Childcare community. In 2017-18, at its facility in Families House in Dundee, FCSS provided 28,932 hours of childcare to 184 children from 163 families, with 70 percent of families reporting that using the service allowed them to take up or remain in employment. 

New Priority In The Empowering Communities Fund

The Empowering Communities Fund, which in 2019-20 has become the Empowering Communities Programme, supports our national outcomes by focusing investment and funding on deprived communities and disadvantaged rural areas.

The main funding vehicle within the programme is the Investing in Communities Fund. Building on the learning and progress from previous community funds we have brought forward the importance of action to address child poverty throughout the design stage of this new fund, placing child poverty and poverty of all forms as a key priority in the criteria for the fund. The fund’s purpose makes clear that tackling child poverty is a priority and provides essential guidance on the many ways in which the fund can be utilised to reduce child poverty.

We launched our new Investing in Communities Fund on 7 May 2019 which, backed by investment of £11.5 million in 2019-20, has the Place Principle at its heart; aiming to ensure that all organisations within a place or community work collaboratively together to identify priorities, solutions and maximise their assets. The fund will provide further focus on the key priorities of reducing poverty and child poverty, and encourage holistic project design that can help to unlock the various barriers which grip people in poverty.

Strengthening Our Investment In The STV Children’s Appeal

During 2018-19, we again supported the STV Appeal with £1 million. In the first six months to June 2018, the Appeal supported 18 large projects and 211 small projects across all 32 local authorities, reaching 8,636 families and 12,564 children and young people, and leveraging nearly £1.75 million in additional funding.

Building Stronger Links Between Economic Development Partnerships And Tackling Child Poverty

Employment is one of the key drivers to help families out of poverty.

In order to stimulate delivery of more and better employment opportunities, and protect existing jobs, we are working with the Regional Economic Partnerships (REPs) developing from the experience of local authorities and partners implementing City Region and other Growth Deals.

The maturing REP network is focused on growing regional and local economies by increasing prosperity while enabling more equal communities.

Central to all of the Growth Deals’ ambition is activity to promote Fair Work, and its clear focus on improving skills and enhancing employability, with the aim of ensuring that new jobs are accessible to local people. Growth deal investments across Scotland include additional support for those furthest from the workplace, or from disadvantaged groups or areas, including parents. In the longer-term, it is hoped that this approach can also break generational cycles of unemployment, underemployment and poverty. We consider that Growth Deals and the work of REPs will have the most significant impact on reducing child poverty by increasing parental earnings through work.

We will continue to work with the Glasgow City Region and other REPs across Scotland to help them in their mission to deliver real benefit to families and communities in the form of well-paid and secure employment. We also intend to gather evidence of the impact of Growth Deals on employment and earnings as these deals progress.

Community Wealth And Localism

As part of the Ayrshire Growth Deal, we will invest £3 million in a Community Wealth Building Fund. This fund will be made available regionally, with activity co‑designed between the Scottish Government and the new Ayrshire Regional Economic Partnership. When fully established, this project will aim to improve local employment prospects and also empower local communities to access fresh economic opportunity – having a direct impact on household income from employment. We will work with the Ayrshire partners to guide this work in a way that makes a clear link to the reduction of child poverty in Ayrshire.

As part of our broader work on Community Wealth Building, we are also working with a Glasgow Procurement Collaboration Group, led by Strathclyde University and including Glasgow City Council, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, University of Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian University, City of Glasgow College, and Glasgow Clyde College. This project is focussing on opportunities to increase the amount of investment from large local employers being spent locally. We will encourage partners engaged in this work to examine how increased investment locally can make a measurable impact on child poverty experienced in the city and region.

We have already provided detailed breakdowns of spend across all of the partners, demonstrating shared suppliers, spend within the City, Region and beyond, allowing the partners to identify areas where procurement spend could be targeted to increase local spending.

Partnership Between The Scottish Government And Glasgow City Region On Inclusive Growth And Child Poverty

We have been working collaboratively across government portfolios to assist the Glasgow City Region on this ambition. At the regional level we are working to build on and scale best practice, especially in skills and employability, to drive up household incomes and break the cycle of low income employment.

We have supported Glasgow City Region to develop inclusive growth monitoring and evaluation frameworks. We are also exploring ways in which employability support could be tailored to support low income parents in order to increase household incomes and reduce child poverty.

A Strong Partnership With Local Areas

Local solutions to tackle child poverty are a crucial part of the picture. That’s why we included a local reporting duty in the Child Poverty Act, which covers local authorities and health boards.

In 2018-19 we have put in place a new range of support measures to maximise the impact of local action.

A National Child Poverty Co-Ordinator

Following a competitive recruitment process, a National Child Poverty Co-ordinator was appointed at the Improvement Service from July 2018. Scottish Ministers have committed to funding this post until 2022. The Co-ordinator has been providing a range of support to local leads across the country, helping to build capacity and share learning.

The National Co-ordinator, working with the Local Child Poverty Coordination Group (consisting of Scottish Government, Improvement Service, NHS Health Scotland, Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit, NHS LIST, COSLA, the Poverty Alliance and Child Poverty Action Group) have begun the delivery of a shared work plan.

The Co-ordinator has led on a range of actions including: undertaking a survey and creating a network of local authority leads on the development of Local Child Poverty Action Reports (LCPARs); delivering events to facilitate good practice sharing and relationship building; establishing and facilitating an online network of over 150 members involved in the development of LCPARs; developing guidance and a feedback framework for LCPARs; actively engaging key stakeholders in the development and implementation of LCPARs; briefing and delivering a webinar for Elected Members on the legislative requirements around LCPARs for local authorities and health boards; providing ‘critical friend’ feedback on draft LCPARs; and providing ad hoc input to local planning meetings in relation to tackling child poverty locally.

A New Analytical Partnership On Local Child Poverty

In 2018-19, we provided an initial £20,000 of grant funding to support the establishment of the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit (SPIRU). We have committed to providing funding to SPIRU until 2021.

The Unit is a member of the Local Child Poverty Co-ordination group and is acting as a critical friend to Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) – clarifying their duties in relation to the Child Poverty Act, responding to requests for assistance and advice, and disseminating examples of effective practice from across and beyond Scotland.

A New Fairer Scotland Duty

We brought the new Fairer Scotland Duty into force from the 1 April 2018. We published interim guidance on 28 March 2018 and have subsequently funded a National Co-ordinator post in the Improvement Service until 2021 – providing £33,000 in funding in 2018-19. The post holder is working closely with the Child Poverty Co-ordinator to ensure good links are made and strengthened across these two complementary areas.

Bringing The Voices Of People With Experience Of Poverty Into Local Decision-Making

We continue to support and invest in key organisations, including the Poverty Truth Community, to enable people with lived experience of poverty to get their voices heard.

In 2018-19, we provided new investment in the Edinburgh Poverty Commission. The Commission will define the long-term actions and responses needed to reduce poverty and inequality in Edinburgh and make recommendations for change to partners across the city, informed by the views and experiences of people affected by poverty who are at the heart of this work.

New Support From The Poverty Alliance

The Poverty Alliance have been working closely with their network of local and national partners since March 2018 to develop and commence the rollout of Get Heard Scotland (GHS).

To maximise the impact of their resources, the initial phase of GHS has focused in three key areas [Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dumfries] and on three key topics: fuel poverty, transport and child poverty.

The first outputs from this new programme on transport, were shared at an event in Glasgow on 29 April 2019.

A Role For The Children’s Sector Strategic Forum In Monitoring Implementation

The Scottish Government actively engaged with the Children’s Sector Strategic Forum over the course of 2018-19. The Forum’s advice and scrutiny to strengthen cross-government delivery of the actions committed has been very useful. Representatives of the forum attended meetings of Scottish Government Directors in October 2018, April 2019 and May 2019 specifically to discuss our approach to child poverty. These meetings have provided an open forum in order to discuss progress and offer their insights into what is working well and what areas need improve.

Due to the value of this engagement to both parties, the Forum offered to continue the relationship in 2019-20 and the Scottish Government has gratefully accepted this offer.


Email: sjsu@gov.scot

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