Turning the tide on child poverty in Scotland

Parties must make bold commitments to loosen poverty’s grip on many thousands of children – not just to meet targets, but to free their childhoods from the damaging pressures of growing up in hardship.

This May’s Scottish election is a vital moment for the 1 million people, and almost a quarter of a million children, who are caught in poverty in Scotland. In 2017 the Scottish Parliament unanimously agreed ambitious targets to reduce child poverty to under 18% by 2023/24 and to under 10% by 2030. It was right to set these targets, but we are not on course to achieve them. Our analysis shows how much there is still to do, but more importantly, it shows the art of the possible.

Main findings:

  • Despite the Scottish Child Payment (SCP) and the recent £20 uplift to Universal Credit (UC) and Working Tax Credit (WTC), the Scottish Government is likely to miss their interim child poverty target by four percentage points, failing to lift 40,000 children locked in poverty.
  • If the £20 UC/WTC lifeline is cut the target will be missed by six percentage points (around 50,000 children).
  • But meeting the target through the SCP is possible if the weekly payment amount rises to £30 per week per child, at an additional cost of £380 million per year, or£40 a week at an additional cost of £520 million if the UC/WTC lifeline is removed.

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