The Scottish Government have confirmed that they have delivered with their investment in tackling child poverty, after their record investment to support low-income households.
Between 2018 and 2022, the government invested almost £8.5 billion to support those on low incomes, with almost £3.3 billion of that benefiting children.
These results come from the publishing of the fourth annual progress report on child poverty and confirms that the actions that formed part of the first Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, Every Child, Every Chance have been successfully delivered.
The achievements of this plan include:
- The introduction of the Scottish Child Payment, with more than 1.2 million payments between February 2021 and March 2022. This is an investment of £58.6 million.
- An increase in the number of real living wage accredited employers, with the number of people earning the real living wage or more increasing by 5.6% in the three years from 2018 to 2021.
- An increase in the funded hours for Early Learning and Childcare from 600 hours in 2018, to 1,140 in August 2021. This saved families up to £4,900 per eligible child in 2021
- The delivery of over 35,000 affordable homes, 25,562 of which were designated for social rent which supports an estimate 11,585 households with children.
- The extension of concessionary travel to all those under the age of 22, with approximately 930,000 young people eligible for support. This saved families up to £3,000 by the time their child turns 18.
- The expansion of universal free school meals to children in primaries four and five. This saved families around £400 per child. This was alongside the increasing of the School Clothing Grant to at least £120 for eligible primary school children and £150 for eligible children in secondary school children in 2021.
Shona Robison, Social Justice Secretary, said:
“Over the last four years, we have strengthened the foundations of support for children and families and used our powers to support those most in need, particularly with the introduction of our new social security system.
We are now supporting low-income households, carers, and helping people lead independent lives through 12 benefits, seven of which are entirely new and not available anywhere else in the UK.
We have made progress despite significant challenges. The pandemic and the continued impact of UK Government welfare reforms has disproportionately impacted the most disadvantaged and been severe. And, of course, households are all now facing the current cost of living crisis.
That is why we remain determined to continue with our national mission to tackle child poverty. Our second Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan for 2022-26, Best Start, Bright Futures, is ambitious and has a range of actions to support families both immediately and in the long term to deliver change.
We will also continue to call on the UK Government to reverse their welfare reforms, including the two-child limit. Analysis shows that reversing them would put an estimated £780 million in the pockets of Scottish households in 2023-24 and help to lift 70,000 people out of poverty, including 30,000 children.”
The first plan was centred around the three main aspects of child poverty reduction - work and earnings, social security, and household cost – as well as the six priority family types that are at the greatest risk of poverty.