In Scotland today one in four children are living in poverty and the Scottish Government are set to miss the statutory child poverty targets set out in the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017.
The Child Poverty targets were set nearly 5 years ago in the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 and set an interim target of 18% of children in relative poverty by 2023/24. The Act also stipulated that by 2030, less than
10% of children living in Scottish households should be living in relative poverty. The Scottish Government is set to miss those targets which were set unanimously, and without caveat by the Scottish Parliament.
There are substantial powers available should be used to meet the interim child poverty target, and the Scottish Government has the power and the potential, to act yet it chooses not to do so.
Children living in lone parent families make up almost 40% of those living in poverty. Half of families living in poverty have a disabled person in them. There are an estimated 788,000 unpaid carers in Scotland, predominantly woman – many of whom are facing poverty. Women are more likely to be in poverty than men, more likely to to experience in work poverty, and find it harder to escape poverty than men. Women’s work in sectors like care, cleaning, hospitality and retail has long been undervalued, underpaid and under protected.
The Scottish Government has failed to pull the necessary levers that would allow Scotland to reach it’s targets and reduce the poverty and inequality that continues to exist for far too many. This paper will set out exactly where, and how it could have done so.