Child Poverty Bill targets ‘too distant’ warn MSPs

Written by Tom Freeman on 22 May 2017 in News

Social Security Committee calls for interim targets on child poverty and more detail about how they are met

Child by Stephan Hochhaus

New statutory targets to reduce the number of children living in poverty by 2030 are “too distant” according to a cross-party group of MSPs.

The new Child Poverty Bill includes a commitment to have fewer than 10 per cent of children living in relative poverty and five per cent in absolute poverty in 14 years.

But members of Holyrood’s Social Security Committee have reported concerns about the timescale and recommended interim targets would be necessary to chart progress.


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In a report published today, the committee also calls for greater detail about how the Scottish Government will deliver against the targets.

This would include an explanation of how social security, childcare and housing could be used to lower numbers of children in poverty.

Convener Sandra White MSP said: “The Bill before us contains challenging targets for measuring child poverty but we believe that these targets do not go far enough.

“The introduction of interim targets would send a much louder message about the importance that is placed on tackling child poverty and they would create a sense of urgency which is needed if we are to really make a difference.

“Of course, targets alone cannot eradicate child poverty.

“It is the delivery plans and progress reports that will detail the action being taken and how effective this action is. We need more information about the format and shape of these plans.”

Child poverty has risen in Scotland since the Scottish Parliament's fifth session began. The Bill will also require local authorities and health boards to report jointly on what local actions are being taken to contribute to meeting targets.

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