Poverty Alliance welcomes new Child Poverty Bill

Campaigners optimistic about new bill but urge more action on child poverty 

ANTI-poverty campaigners welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government today that it will introduce a new Child Poverty Bill.  

This was in response to the UK Government decision to scrap the Child Poverty Act in 2010, and to move away from income-based child poverty targets.

In the new bill, the Scottish Government sets out its approach to tackling and eradicating child poverty in Scotland.

"It is critical that the bill is part of a long term, comprehensive national anti-poverty strategy, a strategy that ensures no-one – child, working age adult, pensioner – lives in poverty." Peter Kelly

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said: "This is an important and welcome announcement from the Scottish Government. 

"We need focused and coordinated action to reduce poverty in Scotland, and setting out in law what needs to be done will help bring about that action. 

"If we are really to make progress towards eradicating child poverty then we need a comprehensive national anti-poverty strategy that involves all parts and layers of government."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said at an event at the Prince's Trust that this would be the first time the that in Scotland a dedicated strategy had been put in place to tackle the deep-rooted causes of child poverty.

The new Child Poverty Bill will set out a new approach to tackling poverty and inequality and will outline a way forward for delivering the government’s ambition to eradicate child poverty.

"There are 220,000 children living in poverty in Scotland; two-third of them are in households where someone works." Peter Kelly

The announcement came on the same day the first minister announced she was re-appointing Naomi Eisenstadt as the Scottish Government’s independent poverty advisor for another 12 months.

The Scottish Government said: "A consultation setting out proposals for the bill will be published over the summer, building on the existing work from our well-established Child Poverty Strategy."

In response, Peter Kelly stated: “There are 220,000 children living in poverty in Scotland; two-third of them are in households where someone works. 

"As part of a national anti-poverty strategy the Scottish government must look at how we use new powers over social security to increase the incomes of these families."

Peter Kelly, was reffering to the new powers over welfare announced by the secretary of state for Scotland David Mundell earlier this week.

"We need focused and coordinated action to reduce poverty in Scotland, and setting out in law what needs to be done will help bring about that action." Peter Kelly

"We also need to recognise that tackling poverty increasingly means improving employment conditions for thousands of people in Scotland," he went on.

"That means reducing levels of low pay but also doing more to ensure that the jobs that are being created in Scotland are decent jobs that provide a real route out of poverty. The new Child Poverty Bill will be an important step forward.

"However, it is critical that the Bill is part of a long term, comprehensive national anti-poverty strategy, a strategy that ensures no-one – child, working age adult, pensioner – lives in poverty."

Picture courtesy of Jannis Andrija Schnitzer

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