The next game-changer for solving poverty in Scotland

11th Sep 2019

Jim McCormick, JRF's Associate Director for Scotland, writes ahead of our upcoming event on how we all need to work together to come up with the next game-changers needed across work, housing and social security.

Imagine that it’s 10 years in the future. It is Challenge Poverty Week, October 2030. After a bumpy journey, Scotland has achieved the targets on child poverty that it set back in 2017, with all-party support at Holyrood. It is far from a job done though: there were one in ten children still in poverty the previous year, and risks across the wider population need to be addressed. But Scotland is now among those countries with the lowest rates of child poverty in the OECD. How did we get here?

Next month, 8 October 2019, JRF will host an event in Edinburgh to work out the best ways to achieve this result. The Scottish Child Payment has been described as a golden opportunity to turn the tide on poverty: a game-changer in terms of devolution. It could lead to 30,000 fewer children growing up in poverty and, by definition, their parents and carers escaping or avoiding being pulled under by poverty. But we already know that social security powers alone, far less this single payment, cannot bear all the heavy lifting required to solve poverty. Nor is it the job of governments alone. We will need housing providers in all tenures, and employers in all sectors, to focus their investment in ways that generate lower risks for their tenants, workers and suppliers.

Our event will focus on the next set of game-changers needed across work, housing and social security. We will begin with advice from people with direct experience of poverty, hearing about what they think can get us back on track, and we will be informed by practitioners and policy makers identifying the challenges and opportunities we are likely to face.