Publication - Strategy/plan

Tackling child poverty: second year progress report (2019-2020)

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

Tackling child poverty: second year progress report (2019-2020)
3. At a glance summaries

3. At a glance summaries

Introduction

The following section provides a series of ‘at a glance’ tables providing a summary overview of activity in 2019-20.

The first table provides overall progress on each of the actions committed; whether we are delivering, in progress, or at early stages of development. It also sets out which of the priority families are anticipated to benefit and the expected outcome.

Table two sets out what has been spent from the Tackling Child Poverty Fund across 2018-20 and what is committed in 2020-21.

Table three sets out an estimate of Scottish Government investment directed at low income households with children and investment targeted at low income households more generally – where children are also expected to benefit.

The final table outlines the requirements of the Child Poverty Act, and how we have addressed each within this report. As the Act requires us to respond to the comments and recommendations of the Poverty and Inequality Commission, this is also noted here.

Progress against actions and impact on priority families

The following table provides an at a glance update on the status of all actions in ‘Every Child, Every Chance’ as of 31 March 2020. The table also summarises which priority group(s) is expected to benefit from the action and how it will help us to tackle child poverty.

We continue to deliver strong progress against the actions committed, with 56 of the 58 actions reported on last year either in progress or being delivered.

Key:

means early stages of development

means in progress

means currently being delivered

Priority families:

LP Lone Parents

ME Minority Ethnic

YM Mothers Aged <25

<1 Youngest Child Aged <1

3+ 3+ Children

DAC Disabled Adult or Child

Yellow highlight suggests that a priority family type is particularly expected to benefit

Expected outcome:

EMP Increasing income from employment – relevant to all four targets

HC Reducing housing costs – relevant to all four targets

OC Reducing other costs of living – relevant to the low income and material deprivation target

SS Increasing income from social security and benefits in kind – relevant to all four targets

LC Improving children’s life chances in ways that are not about increasing current income or reducing costs of living – potentially relevant to future child poverty levels, when these children become parents themselves

Action Priority groups expected to benefit Expected outcome Status
Fair Start Scotland ALL – but especially LP, DAC, ME EMP

means currently being delivered

Parental Employability Support Fund ALL – but especially LP, DAC EMP

means currently being delivered

Additional investment to support disabled parents DAC EMP

means early stages of development

Additional investment to support young parents* YM EMP

means early stages of development

Building a Living Wage Nation ALL – but especially LP, YM EMP

means currently being delivered

Tackling low pay in the public sector ALL – but especially LP, ME, YM, DAC EMP

means currently being delivered

New action on the gender pay gap ALL – but especially LP, ME, <1, YM EMP

means currently being delivered

Flexible Workforce Development Fund ALL – but especially LP,DAC, ME, YM EMP

means currently being delivered

The Workplace Equality Fund ALL – but especially DAC, ME EMP

means currently being delivered

New support for flexible working ALL – but especially LP, DAC EMP

means in progress

Expanded Early Learning and Childcare ALL – but especially LP, 3+ EMP, OC

means in progress

After School and Holiday Childcare ALL – but especially LP, 3+ EMP, OC

means in progress

A new Family Learning Programme* ALL EMP

means currently being delivered

An increased School Clothing Grant ALL – but especially 3+ SS

means currently being delivered

Reducing food insecurity in the school holidays ALL – but especially 3+ OC, SS

means currently being delivered

Further support on costs of the school day ALL – but especially 3+ OC, SS

means currently being delivered

New support, incentives and rewards with the Young Scot Card ALL OC

means currently being delivered

Making sure young people receive EMA payments ALL – but especially YM SS

means currently being delivered

Work with the social housing sector to agree the best ways to keep rents affordable ALL HC

means in progress

Ensure that future affordable housing supply decisions support our objective to achieve a real and sustained impact on child poverty ALL HC

means in progress

Evaluate the impact of the private residential tenancy on families with children ALL HC

means in progress

Scottish Housing Regulator ALL HC

means currently being delivered

New action on homelessness* ALL HC, LC

means early stages of development

Increase uptake of our Warmer Homes Scotland programme amongst low income families ALL OC

means currently being delivered

Target fuel poverty and energy efficiency measures on those most in need, including low income families ALL OC

means currently being delivered

Money Talk Team Service ALL SS, OC

means currently being delivered

Health and Income Maximisation ALL SS

means currently being delivered

Benefit Take Up Strategy for devolved benefits* ALL SS

means currently being delivered

New support for affordable credit ALL OC

means currently being delivered

Tackling problem debt* ALL OC

means currently being delivered

Access to period products ALL – but especially 3+ OC

means currently being delivered

Connecting Scotland* ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC

means early stages of development

Action on transport strategy, policies and programmes ALL EMP, OC

means currently being delivered

Scottish Child Payment ALL SS

means in progress

Best Start Grant ALL – but especially 3+, <1, YM SS

means currently being delivered

Enhanced support through Best Start Foods ALL – but especially 3+, <1, YM SS

means currently being delivered

Increased support for carers ALL SS

means currently being delivered

New Job Start Payment ALL SS, EMP

means in progress

Widened Funeral Support Payment eligibility ALL SS

means currently being delivered

Expanded eligibility for Winter Heating Allowance ALL SS

means in progress

Extra help for families with children’s health in the early years ALL LC

means currently being delivered

A new resource for disabled children, young people and their families ALL SS, LC

means currently being delivered

Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences ALL LC

means currently being delivered

Action on parental imprisonment ALL LC

means currently being delivered

Supporting redesign of the care system* ALL LC

means early stages of development

New action on transitions ALL LC  
Help for children’s neighbourhoods ALL LC, EMP

means currently being delivered

Targeted opportunities for cultural participation ALL LC

means currently being delivered

Facilitating access to music education ALL LC

means currently being delivered

Improving inclusion in sport ALL LC

means currently being delivered

Increased funding for mental health ALL LC

means currently being delivered

Tailored learning support for Gypsy/ Traveller families with children ME LC

means currently being delivered

Support to tackle bullying ALL LC

means currently being delivered

Support for students and communities from further and higher education ALL – but especially YM LC, EMP

means currently being delivered

Innovation Fund with the Hunter Foundation ALL LC, EMP, SS, OC

means currently being delivered

Investment in the STV children’s appeal ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC

means currently being delivered

Investing in Communities Fund ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC

means currently being delivered

Partnership between the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Region on inclusive growth and child poverty ALL EMP

means in progress

Community Wealth and Localism ALL EMP

means in progress

Town Centre Fund and Business Improvement Districts* ALL EMP

means in progress

A National Child Poverty Co-ordinator ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC

means currently being delivered

A new analytical partnership on local child poverty ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC

means currently being delivered

A new Fairer Scotland duty ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC

means currently being delivered

Bringing the voices of people with experience of poverty into local decision-making ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC

means currently being delivered

New support from the Poverty Alliance ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC

means currently being delivered

A role for the Children’s Sector Strategic Forum in monitoring implementation ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC

means currently being delivered

* action not previously included in ‘Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan first year progress report - 2018-19’

Investments through the Tackling Child Poverty Fund

Investment made across the first two years of the £50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund is set out below alongside projected spend for 2020-21. The Tackling Child Poverty Fund is intended to support innovation and as such this is additional to core portfolio budgets, wider spend targeted at low income households with children is highlighted in the next section.

Over the period 2019-20 we have identified a number of new programmes which will benefit from investment from the Fund, including new support for young parents, the Family Learning Scotland Programme and action to prevent homelessness. To support action we also brought forward investment for the Innovation Fund into 2019-20.

In line with the Poverty and Inequality Commission’s recommendations we are committed to reviewing the scale and type of interventions being taken forward, including those from the Tackling Child Poverty Fund. To this end spend projections are not included beyond 2020-21 and future resources will be subject to consideration through the Scottish Budget process.

The table below outlines recorded and provisional levels, all totals expressed are £0.000m:

Programme Year Total
(2018-21)
2018-19 2019-20 2020-21
Parent Employability Support Fund (PESF) £0.050 £2.000 £5.100 £7.150
Support for disabled parents - - £1.000** £1.000
PESF ELC alignment - £0.100 £1.000** £1.100
Support for Young Parents - - £0.350** £0.350
Timewise - £0.026 £0.133 £0.159
Homelessness prevention - - £0.250 £0.250
Family Learning Scotland - £0.050 £0.225 £0.275
Access to Childcare Fund - £0.016 £1.500 £1.516
Food Insecurity £0.100 £0.500 - £0.600
Healthier Wealthier Children £0.250 £0.250 - £0.500
Affordable credit marketing £0.080 - £0.080 £0.160
Money Talk Team Marketing - £0. 220 - £0.220
Children's Neighbourhoods Scotland £0.250 £0.374 £0.373 £0.997
Preventative work for low income young people at college £0.242 £0.208 £0.300 £0.748
Gypsy / traveller - £0.030 £0.035 £0.065
New Innovation Fund with The Hunter Foundation £1.100 £2.534 - £3.634
National Child Poverty Coordinator £0.069 £0.070 £0.092 £0.231
Local analytical partnership £0.020 £0.020 £0.038** £0.078
Local support - first year reporting £0.190 - - £0.190
Total Investment £2.35m £6.40m £10.48m £19.22m*

*totals may not sum due to rounding

** anticipated investment

Investment to support children in poverty

We have made considerable progress in the two years since the publication of our first Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan but we recognise that, in order to meet the targets, significant and sustained investment is essential. The drivers of child poverty are complex and, in order to effectively tackle them, this investment must be extensive and diverse.

In the 2019-20 financial year, over £672 million has been invested across a range of programmes directed specifically at low income households with children. These households will also benefit from the wide range of action focussed on low income households in general. In 2019-20 £1,966 million has been invested on programmes directed at low income households. These figures, as well as the breakdowns of estimated spend in individual programmes, can be seen in the table below. These figures come from a variety of sources in addition to the draft 2020-21 budget documents. For policies targeted at all people on a low income, we have used the proportion of people in poverty who are children to derive an estimated spend on children in poverty (23%).

These estimates do not include the proportion of spend from universal services, including those focused specifically on children such as funded Early Learning and Childcare and Free School Meal provision for primaries 1-3, or wider support including free prescriptions, healthcare or free tuition. Wider investments such as these are key to our overall strategy to reducing child poverty.

The multi-billion pound package of investment that underpins our ground-breaking statutory targets to reduce child poverty levels by 2030 aims to support households increase their earnings from employment, reduce household costs and enhance social security support, thereby mitigating the negative impacts of poverty and improving lifelong outcomes for children and families.

The estimates above represent an increase of £144 million of spend on low income households with children based on those reported in 2018-19. Estimated investment targeted at low income households similarly increased by £554 million.

Tackling child poverty remains a complicated, multi-faceted task however we continue to be confident that the approach we are taking will have the long term impacts that we require.

Policy Estimated 2019-20 total spend (£m) Estimated spend on children in poverty (£m)
Targeted at low income households with children
Attainment Scotland Fund 62.00 62.00
Pupil Equity Funding 120.00 120.00
Free School Meals - P4+[53] 74.69 74.69
Education Maintenance Allowance 22.82 22.82
Best Start Foods / Healthy Start Vouchers 4.17 4.17
School Clothing Grant 6.00 6.00
Inspiring 14:19 Fund 6.89 6.89
Money Talk Team 1.50 1.50
Best Start Grant 21.00 21.00
STV Children's Appeal 1.00 1.00
Healthier Wealthier Children 0.25 0.25
Parental Employability Support Fund 2.00 2.00
Total 322.32 322.32
Targeted at low income households - not necessarily with children
Affordable Homes[54] 685.60 157.69
Council Tax Reduction - funding for revenue forgone 351.00 50.76
Fuel Poverty / Energy Efficiency 119.61 27.51
Discretionary Housing Payments 63.20 14.54
Scottish Welfare Fund 33.00 7.59
Regeneration strategy[55] 42.57 9.79
Fair Start Scotland 15.65 3.60
Advice Services (Income max/financial advice) 1.60 0.37
Fair Food Fund[56] 3.50 2.34
Innovation Fund 2.53 0.58
Social Innovation Partnership 0.82 0.19
UC Scottish Choices 0.22 0.05
Digital skills training for low income 1.00 0.23
Funeral Support Payment 4.1 0.94
Carer's Allowance 283.00 65.09
Carer's Allowance Supplement 37.00 8.51
Total 1644.40 349.78
Total 1966.72 672.10

Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 requirements

Section 10 of the Child Poverty Act sets out a range of requirements around progress reports. This table explains how we have met those requirements, with directions to the relevant sections or specific pages within the Plan.

This section has no associated Explanatory Notes

The Scottish Ministers must, before the end of the period of 3 months beginning with the last day of each reporting year, prepare a report (a “progress report”) on the progress made during the year—

  • towards meeting the child poverty targets, and
  • in implementing the relevant delivery plan.

This is the first progress report due under the Child Poverty Act.

Section 2 outlines our approach to assessing progress toward meeting the targets. It presents the most recent data for the four targets. The most recent child poverty statistics available describe the situation in 2018-19, which covers the first year of the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan.

Progress in implementing the delivery plan (2018-22) is set out in section 1.

A progress report must in particular describe -

The measures taken by the Scottish Ministers in accordance with that delivery plan.

Section 1 contains an update on each action committed.

The effect of those measures on progress towards meeting the child poverty targets.

Section 2 sets out plans for evaluation in the longer term.

Section 1 provides impact summaries, where appropriate, for actions aligned to the drivers of child poverty reduction.

The effect of those measures on reducing the number of children living in single-parent households against each of the four targets.

Section 2 presents the most recent child poverty statistics for the six priority families identified in ‘Every Child, Every Chance’ – including children living in single parent households.

Section 3 sets out which of the actions in the Delivery Plan are intended to benefit these children.

The effect of those measures on children living in households whose income is adversely affected, or whose expenditure is increased, because a member of the household has one or more protected characteristics.

Section 2 presents the most recent child poverty statistics for the six priority families identified in ‘Every Child, Every Chance’ – including children living in families that include a disabled adult or child, minority ethnic families, families with a child under one year old, and families where the mother is under 25 years of age.

Section 3 sets out which of the actions in the Delivery Plan are intended to benefit these children.

If, in preparing a progress report -

Scottish Ministers consider that the measures taken in accordance with the relevant delivery plan have not delivered sufficient progress towards meeting the child poverty targets, the progress report must describe how the Scottish Ministers propose to ensure sufficient progress is delivered in the future.

The single-year statistics published in March 2020 cover the period 2018-19 and show that poverty levels across three of the four measures have reduced. This date range reflects the first year of the delivery plan and therefore will not capture the impact of actions delivered in that period.

As the Poverty and Inequality Commission note in their concluding remarks ‘It is still too early… to comment on evidence of progress towards meeting the targets’. In 2019-20 a number of important new supports have been put in place and, once embedded, we would expect these to start to shift the curve on child poverty.

In preparing a progress report, the Scottish Ministers must —

Consult the Commission on;

  • the progress made during the reporting year towards meeting the child poverty targets,
  • whether it appears to the Commission that such progress is sufficient to meet the child poverty targets,
  • what further progress the Commission considers is required to meet the child poverty targets.

And, include any comments or recommendations made by the Commission on the matters mentioned above.

In March 2020 the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government wrote to the Chair of the Poverty and Inequality Commission to invite scrutiny of progress made in relation to the child poverty targets.

The Commission were invited to meet with officials to discuss their selected areas of focus, with meetings set to conclude by 19 March 2020, and final written updates provided by 27 March.

Due to the nationwide lockdown, preparation of this material was delayed alongside the progress report. Five of the Seven meetings were conducted prior to lockdown and Scottish Ministers shared written updates with the Commission on 21 May 2020.


The advice received will be published by the Commission on 20 August.

We have set out throughout the document where and how we have taken account of the Commission’s recommendations and comments.
Further detail is provided below.

Responding to the advice and comments of the Poverty and Inequality Commission:

In relation to the progress made during the reporting year towards meeting the child poverty targets:

The report of the Commission notes:

“It is still too early for the Commission to comment on evidence of progress towards meeting the targets. The Commission notes that this year’s statistics for the targets are all slightly lower than the previous year’s figures, except for the percentage of children in persistent poverty, but it is too early to know if this is an actual reduction or just fluctuation due to the relatively small sample size. Nevertheless it is positive to see those lower figures, particularly in the light of projections for child poverty to increase if no action was taken.”

Section 2 sets out the latest data available on child poverty levels which show reductions against three of the target measures.

In relation to whether it appears to the Commission that such progress is sufficient to meet the child poverty targets:

The report of the Commission notes:

“It remains difficult for the Commission to judge whether the progress being made is sufficient to meet the child poverty targets because, in most cases, there is still not enough evidence of how the actions in the Child Poverty Delivery Plan are expected to impact on the targets.

Overall, our view is that there is not enough focus on the outcomes of actions and, for most of the actions, there still is not enough evidence that they will help deliver against the targets. There is still a lack of clarity about how the policies are expected to interact to make the Child Poverty Delivery Plan more than just the sum of its parts.

While actions such as the Scottish Child Payment will contribute towards the targets, there is nothing in the progress updates which gives us reassurance that the actions being taken would have had sufficient impact for Scotland to reach the child poverty targets, even before the potential impacts of coronavirus. Meeting the targets is only likely to get harder in the context of the coronavirus crisis.”

Section 1 highlights key strategic links between policies including employability support, fair work, Early Learning and Childcare and transport – with investment being targeted to enhance and develop a holistic person-centred support allowing parents to enter work and increase their earnings.

Aligning to the drivers of poverty reduction these actions are enabled and complemented by wider activity on housing and transport.

The introduction confirms the Scottish Government’s intention to work with experts, including the Social Renewal Advisory Board, to ensure that interventions delivered meet the scale and pace required to mitigate the impacts of the crisis on children and families.

In relation to what further progress the Commission considers is required to meet the child poverty targets:

The Commission recognises progress is being made on modelling work for some actions, but reiterates the previous Commission’s recommendation that the Scottish Government needs to develop a greater understanding of the likely impact of the actions on the targets and use this to identify what further action is needed. Learning across the Delivery Plan needs to be used to make decisions about what to invest more in, what to change and what to stop.

Section 2 outlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to investigate methods to produce a quantitative, cumulative impact assessment of the policies on child poverty and the importance of this kind of modelling for assessing the impact of existing policies, monitoring progress towards the child poverty targets, and informing the design of future policies.

The Commission provided seven recommendations in relation to further progress required to meet the child poverty targets:

1. The Scottish Government must ensure that actions are more clearly linked to targets and that it is clear what the impact of the action is expected to be. There should be a culture of continuous learning and improvement where policy makers (not just analysts) consistently demonstrate how evaluation and learning are integral to their on-going decision-making and delivery.

Section 1 provides impact summaries for actions relevant to the drivers of child poverty reduction and highlights evaluation and user feedback, for example in relation to Best Start Grant.

2. The Scottish Government should continue to develop its approach to involving people with lived experience of poverty in developing solutions and actions and shaping delivery. There have been some examples where this has been done well, e.g. the work of Social Security Scotland in incorporating people’s lived experience into the delivery of social security, but this type of approach needs to be applied consistently across policy areas.

Section 1 highlights a range of actions influenced by lived experience and restates the Scottish Government’s commitment to continuing to develop our approach to involving people with lived experience of poverty in developing solutions, actions and shaping delivery and are taking steps to encourage this practice across Scotland.

3. There should be a greater focus on the priority families in developing and delivering the actions in the Child Poverty Delivery Plan, with better data and evidence gathering to ensure that we know how different policies and interventions are impacting on priority families. The Scottish Government should also ensure that, while focusing on delivering the child poverty targets, it does not lose sight of the needs of others groups of children who are high risk of poverty, such as asylum seekers, refugees and Gypsy/Travellers.

Section 2 outlines the Scottish Government’s commitment to investigate methods to produce a quantitative, cumulative impact assessment of the policies on child poverty and the importance of this kind of modelling for assessing the impact of existing policies, monitoring progress towards the child poverty targets, and informing the design of future policies.

The six priority families ensure a sharp focus on groups at higher risk of poverty to ensure that both specific and inclusive policies are designed.

4. In the coming months the Scottish Government should review the actions in the Delivery Plan to ensure they meet the scale and types of needs that are emerging because of the coronavirus crisis and look at what additional action is needed.

The introduction confirms the Scottish Government’s intention to work with experts, including the Social Renewal Advisory Board, to ensure that interventions delivered meet the scale and pace required to mitigate the impacts of the crisis on children and families.

5. The Scottish Government and Social Security Scotland should reinstate their delivery timetable for the Scottish Child Payment and aim to make payments to children under the age of six by Christmas 2020. A mechanism should be found to make interim payments until the Scottish Child Payment is implemented, if the delivery timetable cannot be reinstated.

Section 1 provides an update on progress to deliver the Scottish Child Payment (SCP) and the revised timetable for delivery. As noted identification and development of an alternative solution would not be a quick or easy process and could risk further delays to the roll out of the Scottish Child Payment and delivery of the existing low income benefits.

6. The Scottish Government must revisit and prioritise the delivery timetable for the 1140 hours funding for early learning and childcare. Should public health advice allow childcare to return to full capacity, the 1140 hours commitment should be reinstated during this academic year to enable parents to work and manage their childcare costs.

Section 1 provides an update on progress to deliver the Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) expansion. Scottish Ministers remain committed to delivering the expansion, and the return to 1,140 as soon as it is reasonable to do so.

7. The Scottish Government should extend its commitment to investing in affordable housing beyond 2021 and go further in investing more in social rented homes. It should ensure that addressing child poverty is factored into its analysis of housing need.

Section 1 sets out that we have already provided a commitment of £300 million interim funding certainty for 2021-22 ahead of the spending review later this year, ensuring that affordable homes continue to be delivered beyond this current parliamentary term. Housing is a key component of Scotland’s infrastructure, and our aim is to publish a new Infrastructure Investment Plan later this year.


Contact

Email: sjsu@gov.scot