Publication - Progress report

Tackling child poverty: third year progress report 2020-2021

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

Tackling child poverty: third year progress report 2020-2021
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 2020/21.

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 2018-21 and what is committed in 2021/22.

Table three sets out an estimate of Scottish Government investment in 2020/21 directed at low income households with children and investment targeted at low income households more generally - where children are also expected to benefit. This includes additional investment in social protections as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 2021. 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 all of the actions reported on last year either in progress or being delivered.

Key:

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 currently being delivered
Parental Employability Support Fund ALL - but especially LP, DAC EMP currently being delivered
Additional investment to support disabled parents DAC EMP currently being delivered
Additional investment to support young parents YM EMP currently being delivered
Additional investment - ELC alignment ALL EMP currently being delivered
Building a Living Wage Nation ALL - but especially LP, YM EMP currently being delivered
Tackling low pay in the public sector ALL - but especially LP, ME, YM, DAC EMP currently being delivered
New action on the gender pay gap ALL - but especially LP, ME, <1, YM EMP currently being delivered
Flexible Workforce Development Fund ALL - but especially LP,DAC, ME, YM EMP currently being delivered
The Workplace Equality Fund ALL - but especially DAC, ME EMP currently being delivered
New support for flexible working ALL - but especially LP, DAC EMP in progress
Expanded Early Learning and Childcare ALL - but especially LP, 3+ EMP, OC in progress
After School and Holiday Childcare ALL - but especially LP, 3+ EMP, OC currently being delivered
A new Family Learning Programme ALL EMP currently being delivered
An increased School Clothing Grant ALL - but especially 3+ SS currently being delivered
Reducing food insecurity in the school holidays ALL - but especially 3+ OC, SS currently being delivered
Further support on costs of the school day ALL - but especially 3+ OC, SS currently being delivered
New support, incentives and rewards with the Young Scot Card ALL OC currently being delivered
Making sure young people receive EMA payments ALL - but especially YM SS currently being delivered
Work with the social housing sector to agree the best ways to keep rents affordable ALL HC in progress
Ensure that future affordable housing supply decisions support our objective to achieve a real and sustained impact on child poverty ALL HC currently being delivered
Evaluate the impact of the private residential tenancy on families with children ALL HC in progress
Scottish Housing Regulator ALL HC currently being delivered
New action on homelessness ALL HC, LC currently being delivered
Increase uptake of our Warmer Homes Scotland programme amongst low income families ALL OC currently being delivered
Target fuel poverty and energy efficiency measures on those most in need, including low income families ALL OC currently being delivered
Money Talk Team Service ALL SS, OC currently being delivered
Health and Income Maximisation ALL SS currently being delivered
Benefit Take Up Strategy for devolved benefits ALL SS currently being delivered
New support for affordable credit ALL OC currently being delivered
Tackling problem debt ALL OC currently being delivered
Access to period products ALL - but especially 3+ OC currently being delivered
Connecting Scotland ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC currently being delivered
Action on transport strategy, policies and programmes ALL EMP, OC currently being delivered
Scottish Child Payment ALL SS currently being delivered
Best Start Grant ALL - but especially 3+, <1, YM SS currently being delivered
Enhanced support through Best Start Foods ALL - but especially 3+, <1, YM SS currently being delivered
Increased support for Carer's ALL SS currently being delivered
New Job Start Payment ALL SS, EMP currently being delivered
Widened Funeral Support Payment eligibility ALL SS currently being delivered
Expanded eligibility for Winter Heating Allowance ALL SS currently being delivered
Extra help for families with children's health in the early years ALL LC currently being delivered
A new resource for disabled children, young people and their families ALL SS, LC currently being delivered
Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences ALL LC currently being delivered
Action on parental imprisonment ALL LC currently being delivered
Supporting redesign of the care system ALL LC in progress
New action on transitions ALL LC currently being delivered
Help for children's neighbourhoods ALL LC, EMP currently being delivered
Targeted opportunities for cultural participation ALL LC currently being delivered
Facilitating access to music education ALL LC currently being delivered
Improving inclusion in sport ALL LC currently being delivered
Increased funding for mental health ALL LC currently being delivered
Tailored learning support for Gypsy/ Traveller families with children ME LC currently being delivered
Support to tackle bullying ALL LC currently being delivered
Support for students and communities from further and higher education ALL - but especially YM LC, EMP currently being delivered
Innovation Fund with the Hunter Foundation ALL LC, EMP, SS, OC currently being delivered
Investment in the STV children's appeal ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC currently being delivered
Investing in Communities Fund ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC currently being delivered
Partnership between the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Region on inclusive growth and child poverty ALL EMP in progress
Community Wealth and Localism ALL EMP in progress
Town Centre Fund and Business Improvement Districts ALL EMP in progress
A National Child Poverty Co-ordinator ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC currently being delivered
A new analytical partnership on local child poverty ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC currently being delivered
A new Fairer Scotland duty ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC currently being delivered
Bringing the voices of people with experience of poverty into local decision-making ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC currently being delivered
New support from the Poverty Alliance ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC currently being delivered
A role for the Children's Sector Strategic Forum in monitoring implementation ALL EMP, HC, OC, SS, LC currently being delivered

Investments through the Tackling Child Poverty Fund

Investment made across the first three years of the �50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund is set out below alongside projected spend for 2021/22. 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.

Further investments will be made in 2021/22 to support priority areas of action, with the full �50 million allocated over the period of the delivery plan.

The table below outlines recorded and provisional levels of investment, correct at the point of publication, all totals expressed are �0.000m:

Programme Year Total
(2018-22)
2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22
Parent Employability Support Fund (PESF) �0.050 �2.000 �5.100 �5.050 �12.200
PESF - Support for disabled parents - - �6.000 - �6.000
PESF - ELC alignment - �0.100 �1.000 �3.000 �4.100
PESF - Support for Young Parents - - �0.350 �0.650 �1.000
Timewise - �0.026 �0.133 �0.167 �0.326
Homelessness prevention - - �0.250 �0.500 �0.750
Housing affordability - - - �0.500 �0.500
Family Learning Scotland - �0.050 �0.188 �0.148 �0.386
Access to Childcare Fund - �0.016 �1.305 �1.679 �3.000
Summer activities programme (contribution) - - - �7.500 �7.500
Food Insecurity �0.100 �0.500 - - �0.600
Healthier Wealthier Children �0.250 �0.250 - - �0.500
Affordable credit marketing �0.080 - - - �0.080
Money Talk Team Marketing - �0. 220 - - �0.220
Children's Neighbourhoods Scotland �0.250 �0.374 �0.727 �0.919 �2.270
Preventative work for low income young people at college �0.242 �0.308 �0.300 �0.500 �1.350
Gypsy / traveller - �0.030 �0.035 �0.150 �0.215
New Innovation Fund �1.100 �2.534 - �1.366 �5.000
Social Innovation Partnership - - - �1.034 �1.034
National Child Poverty Coordinator �0.069 �0.070 �0.091 �0.089 �0.318
Local analytical partnership �0.020 �0.020 �0.048 �0.020 �0.108
Local support - first year reporting �0.190 - - - �0.190
Total Investment �2.35 �6.50 �15.53 �23.2746 �50.00m[50]

Investment to support children in poverty

In the 2020/21 financial year, an estimated �2.5 billion was invested across a range of programmes targeted at low-income households. Of this, we estimate that over �978 million directly benefited children. These figures include over �434 million of COVID-related social assistance for low-income households, of which over �206 million was estimated to benefit children. These totals, along with the breakdown of estimated spend on individual programmes, can be seen in the table below.

These figures are estimates. They comprise a mixture of outturn, budgeted, and forecasted figures, depending on what was available at the time. Some of the figures are published, whereas others were sourced internally. Furthermore, although we have attempted to stay consistent with the figures included in the equivalent table for 2019/20, inconsistencies could remain. For policies targeted at all people on a low income, we have used the latest statistics on the proportion of people in poverty who are children (25% in 2019-20) to derive an estimated spend on children in poverty. We have excluded administration costs where possible.

These estimates do not include spend on universal services from which children in poverty will also benefit, including services 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.

Policy Estimated 2020-21 spend on low income households (�m) Estimated 2020-21 spend on children in low income households (�m)
Targeted at low income households with children
Attainment Scotland Fund 66.4 66.4
Pupil Equity Funding 122.5 122.5
School Meals, including Free School Meals[51] 74.7 74.7
Education Maintenance Allowance 23.9 23.9
Best Start Foods / Healthy Start 12.3 12.3
School Clothing Grant 6.0 6.0
Best Start Grant 17.5 17.5
STV Children's Appeal 1.0 1.0
Parental Employability Support Fund 12.4 12.4
Innovation Fund 1.2 1.2
Scottish Child Payment 3.6 3.6
Total 341.5 341.5
Targeted at low income households with children (additional COVID-19 funding)
Additional Free School Meals (COVID-19) 56.4 56.4
COVID Winter Hardship payment[52] 14.4 14.4
COVID Spring Hardship payment[53] 17.8 17.8
Children's charities 4.9 4.9
ELC clothing 0.8 0.8
Vulnerable children[54] 23.5 23.5
Total 117.8 117.8
Targeted at low income households - not necessarily with children
Affordable Homes[55] 660.0 165.0
Council Tax Reduction - revenue foregone 351.0 87.8
Fuel Poverty / Energy Efficiency 151.6 37.9
Winter Fuel Support Programme 3.8 1.0
Discretionary Housing Payments 70.6 17.7
Scottish Welfare Fund 35.5 8.9
Regeneration Strategy[56] 79.2 19.8
Fair Start Scotland 20.9 5.2
Advice Services (Income max/financial advice) 4.5 1.1
Fair Food Fund[57] 2.5 0.6
Social Innovation Partnership (non-COVID-19) 0.8 0.2
UC Scottish Choices[58] 0.3 0.1
Money Talk Team 1.5 0.4
Digital Start Fund 1.0 0.3
Funeral Support Payment 9.2 2.3
Carer's Allowance 291.6 72.9
Carer's Allowance Supplement 38.8 9.7
Total 1722.8 430.9
Targeted at low income households - not necessarily with children (additional COVID-19 funding)
Council Tax Reduction top-up 25.0 6.3
Scottish Welfare Fund top-up 22.0 5.5
Discretionary Housing Payments top-ups 8.0 2.0
Supporting Communities Fund 20.7 5.2
Wellbeing Fund 37.8 9.4
Communities and Third Sector Recovery Programme 24.7 6.2
Food Fund (national partners) 4.9 1.2
Food Fund (non-FSM) 15.0 3.8
Food and Essentials Funding 15.0 3.8
Financial insecurity (winter) 40.0 10.0
Connecting Scotland[59] 24.3 15.0
Coronavirus Carer's Allowance Supplement 19.2 4.8
Credit Union / CDFI Fund 15.0 3.8
Social Innovation Partnership 1.1 0.3
COVID restrictions/guidance funding 30.0 7.5
Fuel costs 3.6 0.9
Strategic food 0.2 0.0
Homelessness 5.2 1.3
Digital Participation Charter Fund 0.3 0.1
Benefit uptake marketing 0.3 0.1
Self-Isolation Support Grant 4.4 1.1
Total 316.7 88.3
Total 2498.8 978.5
of which additional COVID-19 funding 434.5 206.1

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.

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 third 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 2019/20, which covers the second 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 1 provides impact summaries, where appropriate, for actions aligned to the drivers of child poverty reduction.

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

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 2021 cover the period 2019/20 and show that further progress is required. Section 1 sets out further commitments, including to doubling the value of the Scottish Child Payment. Further action will be set out in the next Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, to be published by 31 March 2022.

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 line with the process agreed with the Poverty and Inequality Commission, Scottish Ministers wrote to the Commission on 8 April 2021 inviting scrutiny and providing detail inclusive of: key progress delivered over the reporting period; an update on delays to key actions as a result of COVID, and; a summary of key actions to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 which are of relevance to our child poverty ambitions.

The response received from the Commission is reflected 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:

"The latest child poverty statistics show that child poverty levels are at best stagnating, and may be starting to rise. These statistics refer to the period before COVID-19. We have not yet seen the full impact of the pandemic on poverty and inequality, and it is clear that families on low incomes are likely to have been hit the hardest. This will make reaching the child poverty targets even more challenging.

Over the last year much of the focus has been on trying to prevent families on low incomes from being swept more deeply into poverty by the pandemic. The Commission welcomes the action that the Scottish Government has taken to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic; this has provided a lifeline for many families. Overall, however, the pandemic has led to delays in delivery of many of the actions set out in the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan."

As reflected in Section 1, whilst delays to a number of key programmes have been necessary as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Scottish Ministers have also brought forward a number of new supports for families. These include the launch of Connecting Scotland, to tackle the digital divide, providing Free School Meals, alternate provision during school holidays, promoting a cash-first approach, and introducing new COVID Hardship Payments which have benefited around 145,000 children and young people.

As set out in Section 1, where programmes have been delayed, we are committed to regaining the ground lost and going further.

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:

"The Commission's view is that, based on current progress, the Scottish Government will miss the child poverty targets by a long way. The action being taken by the Scottish Government is not on a scale that is sufficient to meet the interim or final targets."

Every Child, Every Chance' has laid the foundations for significant change, including the development and launch of the new Scottish Child Payment and Parental Employability Support Fund. We remain firmly committed to tackling and reducing child poverty in line with the ambitious targets set within the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017.

Further action, to deliver at the pace and scale required, will be set out within the next Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan to be published by the end of March 2022.

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

"The targets can be met, but the Scottish Government must deliver action at a much greater scale and pace, and with significantly higher levels of investment, if it is to meet them. It must act now. The response to the pandemic has shown that when there is a sense of urgency and all partners work together it is possible to take significant action to support families and to do so quickly. Action can be taken that was previously seen as too difficult. This same sense of urgency and partnership needs to be applied to eradicating child poverty."

We agree with the Commission that further action is needed to deliver at the pace and scale required to tackle child poverty.

We will work with the Commission in development of our next Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, to be published by the end of March 2022.

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

1. The Scottish Government must deliver action at a much greater scale and pace, and with significantly higher levels of investment, in order to meet the child poverty targets. This requires it to use all the levers available to it, including further action on social security, employment and housing.

We remain firmly committed to tackling and reducing child poverty and have already announced plans to double the Scottish Child Payment to �20 by the end of the Parliamentary term, to invest at least a further �15 in our Parental Employability Support Fund across 2022-24 and set out ambitious plans to deliver 100,000 more affordable homes by 2031/32 through our Housing to 2040 strategy.

The government will set out further action to deliver progress toward the targets within the next Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, to be published by the end of March 2022.

2. The Scottish Government should continue to make the case to the UK Government to make the uplift to Universal Credit permanent and to extend this to relevant legacy benefits, and should make the case for single parents under 25 to receive the same rate of Universal Credit standard allowance as older parents.

We have written to the UK Government 7 times making strong representation that they retain the �20 uplift and have written to them prior to this on a number of occasions requesting they make key changes to reserved benefits, including abolishing the two child limit, benefit cap and 5-week wait under Universal Credit (UC).

We will make further representation on these issues and will further note the unfair treatment of young parents who receive less through the UC standard allowance.

3. The Scottish Government needs to apply the same sense of urgency, pace, and commitment to investment and partnership, to eradicating child poverty, that it has shown in responding to COVID-19.

As above, we agree with the Commission that further action is required to deliver at the pace and scale required to tackle child poverty.

We will work with the Commission in development of our next Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, to be published by the end of March 2022.

4. The Scottish Government should commit to making holiday payments, equivalent to free school meals, on a permanent basis.

Through the 2021/22 Scottish Budget we have provided additional funding to local authorities to continue the provision of Free School Meal alternate approaches during holiday periods, this could include the provision of direct payments, vouchers or food parcels. Ministers will be considering future approaches for free school meal delivery during school holidays with local authority partners during 2021/22.

5. The Scottish Government should develop an integrated childcare offer from 0-12 years, which includes 50 hours per week of funded early learning and childcare for children between the age of 6 months and 5 years, and a funded or subsidised out of school care entitlement. This should include provision that meets the needs of disabled children. In the short term more action should be taken to ensure that the existing funded hours can be flexible to meeting parents needs and to change rules that prevent the funding from being used for early learning and childcare in a disabled child's home.

Section 1B sets out our approach to Early Learning and Childcare and out of school childcare.

The government will set out further action to deliver progress toward the targets within the next Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, to be published by the end of March 2022.

6. 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. This is integral to policy design and ongoing improvement.

7. The Scottish Government should provide a significant increase in funding for the Parental Employment Support Fund and an equivalent to the ‘Youth Guarantee', offering a guarantee of work, funded training or education, for parents from priority families engaging with programmes supported by the Fund, if they have not got a job after engaging with the programme for an agreed period.

We have continued to increase investment in our Parental Employability Support Fund, with over �23 million to be invested since 2019.

In development of our next Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan we will consider what further steps are needed to support parents to enter and progress within employment.

8. The Scottish Government, and the wider public sector, should attach Fair Work criteria to all grants, contracts and funding as standard, and continue to champion good jobs in the recovery.

Section 1A sets out our approach to Fair Work First and promotion of good jobs

9. The Scottish Government should increase the Scottish Child Payment to �20 per week this year.

The Scottish Government will double the payment to �20 per week by the end of this Parliament and will set out plans to do so in due course.

10. The Scottish Government should look at what impact a �20 per week Scottish Child Payment will have and make a realistic assessment of what further action is needed in order to reach the interim child poverty targets, including whether further increases to the Scottish Child Payment will be needed.

As part of our approach to developing the next Delivery Plan we will consider the cumulative impact of measures announced to date and what further action is needed to deliver the reductions necessary.

We will look at all levers available to the Scottish Government to deliver reductions in child poverty levels, including through the Scottish Child Payment.

We have also committed to reviewing the effectiveness of the Scottish Child Payment during the course of the next Delivery Plan. This is part of our continued ongoing review of the Payment's effectiveness, including via an evaluation that will consider its impact on families.

11. The Scottish Government should take action to implement recommendations from the Social Renewal Advisory Board, and particularly those set out [in the Commission's advice], in order to reduce child poverty. Where action will take some time to be implemented, the Scottish Government should look at what can be delivered in the interim.

The Scottish Government set out its initial response to the Social Renewal Advisory Board in March 2021[60], committing �25 million of additional resource to drive forward action, including in relation to fuel poverty.

We will continue to consider the calls to action from the Social Renewal Advisory Board to inform our approach to tackling child poverty.

12. The Scottish Government should involve people with lived experience of poverty in developing solutions and actions and shaping delivery. This will help ensure that policies and actions are better designed and respond to the reality of people's lives.

The Scottish Government recognise and welcome the benefits of involving people with lived experience of poverty in developing policies.

This is clearly demonstrated through key policies, including Fair Start Scotland, our Parental Employability Support Fund and approach to devolved social security.

Further we are encouraging this approach with wider partners, including through our continued support of the Poverty Truth Community and Poverty Alliance - as reflected in section E.


Contact

Email: sjsu@gov.scot