ACCEPTING the Scottish Parliament’s nomination as Scotland’s next First Minister, John Swinney MSP said: “Yesterday, I was asked what would be the single most important policy objective for my Government. I made clear it would be the eradication of child poverty.”

John Dickie, Director of Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said: “It is hugely encouraging that the incoming First Minister has already said he will make child poverty his number one priority. For the one in four children still locked in hardship that pledge needs to be acted on, and fast.

“The first step must be an immediate above-inflation increase to the Scottish child payment, and commitment to ensuring it reaches the £40 per week needed by the end of the parliament.

“But the new government will need to go much further and invest in childcare, in removing the barriers to work that too many parents face and in tackling the housing crisis. Unlocking children from poverty is the moral thing to do, it is a legal duty and it is essential for our economic wellbeing.

Mr Dickie continued: “All the political parties backed the legally binding child poverty targets set out in the 2017 Child Poverty (Scotland) Act. Now is the time for all the political parties to work together to ensure those targets are met.”

The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 requires Scottish Ministers to ensure that less than 10 per cent of children are living in poverty by 2030.

The Act also requires Scottish Ministers to ensure that by 2030:

  • Fewer than five per cent of children are living in absolute poverty (a measure of low living standards relative to 2010/11)
  • Fewer than five per cent are living in low income and material deprivation (measuring if families are unable to afford basic necessities)
  • Fewer than five per cent are living in persistent poverty (measuring proportion of children who have lived in poverty in three or more of the last four years

The latest data show levels of child poverty in Scotland are now broadly stable across the indicators.

* Read John Swinney’s acceptance speech in full here.

* Sources: Child Poverty Action Group and Scottish Government