Tackling child poverty priority families overview

An overview of evidence on the six priority family types identified as being at higher risk of child poverty. Slide deck can be found in the supporting documents.

Progress towards Child Poverty Targets in Scotland

The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 sets statutory targets to reduce levels of child poverty, including fewer than 10% of children living in relative poverty, by 2030. This means fewer than one in ten children living in households on low incomes, compared to the average UK household.

Overall, long-term child poverty rates have shown little change in recent years. Still, too many people continue living in poverty in Scotland, with rates remaining at a higher level than statutory targets.

The lack of progress towards lower poverty rates needs to be understood in the wider context of recent years. Scotland has been facing significant economic and societal changes, such as the recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, economic impacts of the war in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis. All of these have an impact on the wider society but will be most significant for low-income families who have less resources available to face crises. 

On the drivers of poverty:

  • The cost of living is a key challenge for low-income families. There are key concerns particularly around: fuel poverty, food insecurity and transport costs.
  • Increasing income through employment can help families avoid poverty. While there is room to expect improvements in the economy and in turn people‚Äôs lives, this will take time to be seen in child poverty rates. Data shows some progress, but slow in terms of increasing pay and hours, which could mean limited progress on in-work poverty. Employability policies in place can have positive outcomes for parents but scale needs to be a sufficient pace to support targets.
  • Income from social security is in many cases a lifeline for families. We see uptake increase and clear positive impact of social security and benefits in-kind on families


Email: social-justice-analysis@gov.scot
Twitter: @EqualityPoverty
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