Rising inequality emphasises need for action.
The UK Government’s austerity agenda, continuing welfare cuts, and economic uncertainty caused by Brexit are the key challenges to eradicating child poverty, Equalities Secretary Angela Constance has said
Ahead of introducing a child poverty bill to Parliament, Ms Constance said the action being taken to tackle inequalities and end child poverty in Scotland has never been more important.
Findings in a report this week from the Resolution Foundation show that over the remainder of the UK Parliamentary term typical households will see almost no income growth and poorer households will experience a fall in income.
Ms Constance said:
“No child should grow up in poverty. All of our children deserve the best opportunities in life that we can offer them, which is why tackling the issue is a key priority for this government.
“Our Child Poverty Bill to be published this week will be a crucial step forward - it will set statutory targets to reduce child poverty and establish a framework for measuring, monitoring and reporting on child poverty. It will also require long-term delivery plans to tackle the deep-rooted causes, and for Ministers to report annually on progress. Scotland will also now be the only part of the UK with statutory income targets on child poverty.
“UK Government budget cuts, austerity measures, and welfare cuts, and scrapping of income-based child poverty targets are leading to huge social harm, and the poorest and most vulnerable in society shouldering the brunt.
“Withdrawal from the EU and the single market also poses a threat to living standards, job prospects, and income levels of people and communities across Scotland.
“It is completely unacceptable that families are facing such hardship and children are growing up in poverty. I am clear that preventing the next generation of young people being born into poverty is vital and we will work tirelessly across government and with the public, private and voluntary sectors to address this.
“That is why our Fairer Scotland Action Plan includes several cross-Government measures to tackle child poverty – and we will use all options the new social security powers give us to make a difference.
“We are spending £100 million a year mitigating the worst of UK Government cuts, funding we should be able to use to lift people out of poverty.
“So it is absolutely clear that we are taking a range of actions to ensure that children in Scotland have a bright future ahead of them; but we do that in the face of a callous and uncaring UK government which has never put the needs of the people of Scotland on their to do list.”
Actions to tackle poverty are within the Fairer Scotland Action Plan