Date lodged: 14 March 2018
To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to reduce the factors that impact on child poverty.
Answered by: Angela Constance 21 March 2018
The Scottish Government's commitment to tackling child poverty is made clear by our ambitious targets, set out in the Child Poverty Act, which was unanimously passed by this Parliament in November. As our targets demonstrate, we know that reducing poverty is fundamentally about increasing income and reducing costs. We are already taking a wide range of action in both these areas to provide support to families on a low income.
For example: we have established two new funds providing £29 million for tackling poverty – the Social Economy Growth Fund & Aspiring Communities Fund; we are committed to the Living Wage and over the next three years will work to become a 'living wage nation'; since August, every new-born child in Scotland has received a baby box and from summer 2019 low income parents will benefit from the new enhanced Best Start Grant; more than 134,500 P1-P3 children are benefitting from free school meals, delivering annual savings for families of around £380 per child; and we will almost double publicly funded early learning and childcare by 2020. All in addition to the £100 million we invest every year to mitigate the worst effects of UK Government welfare cuts.
But we will go further. In order to meet our ambitious child poverty targets for 2030 we will commit to a range of action in our Child Poverty Delivery Plan, to be published by the end of this month, backed by a
£50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund. I look forward to sharing that Plan with Parliament.