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by Staff Reporter
10 July 2024
Committee to investigate child poverty target law

The Child Poverty Act set targets to be met by 2030 | Alamy

Committee to investigate child poverty target law

A Holyrood committee has launched an inquiry into the impact of child poverty legislation and has launched a call for views.

The Child Poverty Act 2017 set legal targets to reduce the number of children in poverty by 2030, but rates have remained largely unchanged in recent years.

The most recent statistics found 24 per cent of children were living in poverty between 2020 and 2023.

The Social Justice and Social Security Committee is to consider whether the legislation has lived up to expectations.

It is seeking views from a range of stakeholders on the impact of the Act.

Convener Collette Stevenson said: “The Child Poverty Act is a landmark piece of legislation, enshrining in law targets to virtually eradicate child poverty by April 2030.

“As we are now more than halfway towards the date when the 2030 targets are due to be met, our committee would like to hear views on how the Act is working in practice.

“We’re really keen to understand whether putting the targets into law has been effective and what might have been different had the Scottish Government not taken this approach.”

The legislation, which also established the Poverty and Inequality Commission, set a target of having fewer than 10 per cent of children in poverty by the end of the decade.

It also set an interim target of having less than 18 per cent of children in poverty by 2023/24, which is widely thought to have been missed though figures are not yet available.

However the latest statistics do not cover the period since the fill rollout of the Scottish Child Payment, a £25 benefit given to low-income families per child. It is expected this will have lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty.

Upon becoming first minister at the start of May, John Swinney said his defining mission would be to eradicate child poverty.

He told parliament: “My first priority is to eradicate child poverty – not tackle, not reduce, but eradicate child poverty.

“This will be this single most important objective of my government and my cabinet, because child poverty stunts the progress of any nation and stands in the way off both social justice and economic growth.”

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