Committee Calls For Views On 'Ambitious' Plans To Tackle Child Poverty

27 February 2017, 08:39

Parent and child

A Holyrood committee is calling for people to give their views on "ambitious'' Scottish Government plans to tackle child poverty.

Ministers have proposed four statutory targets in a "major step'' towards cutting child poverty by 2030.

Their recently published Child Poverty Bill would establish Scotland as the only part of the UK with such statutory aims.

The Scottish Parliament's Social Security Committee has launched the call for views as it begins its scrutiny of the Bill.

Its members want to know if the Bill's proposals are ambitious enough and what practical impact the targets will have on child poverty in Scotland.

They are keen to hear from local authorities, health boards and anyone else with an interest in the Bill.

Convener Sandra White said: "All of us can agree that there is no place for child poverty in a modern Scotland. The effects of growing up in poverty can last a lifetime and can impact on health and education long after the child has grown.

"The Bill before us says it is ambitious, but our committee want to know whether these measures go far enough in addressing this problem. We also want to know what difference this Bill will make to the lives of those children who are facing such hardship in Scotland right now.''

More than one in five (220,000) children currently live in poverty north of the border.

The Bill will require Scottish ministers to ensure that by 2030, less than 10% of children are in relative poverty, meaning those living in a home earning below 60% of the current median UK household income.

It sets out that less than 5% of children are to be in absolute poverty, defined as households earning below 60% of the 2010/11 national median income.

Further targets are for less than 5% of children to be assessed as being in combined low income and material deprivation and less than 5% in persistent poverty.

Written submissions should be sent to the committee by March 23.