Responding to the publication today of the Scottish Government’s Child Poverty Delivery Plan, Douglas Hamilton, Chair of the Poverty and Inequality Commission said,
“Poverty has a firm grip on Scotland. Low pay, high housing costs and insufficient benefits are locking families in a daily struggle to make ends meet. Without concerted action, more than a third of children will be living in poverty by 2030/2031.
“I therefore welcome today’s Child Poverty Delivery Plan, which reflects the key areas for solution identified by the Poverty and Inequality Commission. It is also significant that the plan identifies specific priority groups who are at higher risk of poverty, and sets out the need for targeted action to support those families.
“To achieve the 2030 child poverty targets, we advised the Scottish Government to set out the extent to which it would use its new social security powers, and to do more to strengthen the supports given to parents to enable them to enter employment and progress in work. We also recommended action to focus on tackling high housing costs which leave families in impossible situations like either choosing to heat their home or pay their rent.
“It is therefore particularly encouraging to see the Scottish Government’s commitment to introduce a new Income Supplement, and the proposals to invest in targeted employment support for parents. I look forward to seeing early progress on these actions, which have the potential to make a significant impact.
“I also welcome the commitment to a package of measures to support families with the rising costs of living. This includes the introduction of a minimum rate of school clothing grant which will make a real difference to families. This is something that parents have been calling for over many years and is a long overdue change. Action must be taken to ensure that the minimum rate is agreed as soon as possible.
“The Commission will now take time to consider the detail of the plan and the extent to which the actions in it will deliver the change required.
“As a country we believe in compassion and justice. We share a moral responsibility to ensure every child in Scotland has the same chances in life, no matter who they are or where they live. We must all get behind the changes needed to right the wrong of child poverty.
“The Commission will closely monitor and scrutinise the impact of this Delivery Plan, and looks forward to providing further advice on its implementation.”