Children in Scotland has responded to the Scottish Government's call for written evidence on the Child Poverty Bill for Scotland.
In our response we broadly welcome the introduction of the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill as a step towards eradicating child poverty.
We also identify some significant possible changes to the way poverty is measured across Scotland, and the gathering and use of evidence for forward planning.
As outlined in the joint submission of evidence with the partners in the End Child Poverty Coalition, we call for an introduction of interim targets within the legislation.
We believe these to be vital in order to measure progress towards the 2030 target at appropriate intervals, and allow the Scottish Government to assess whether they and other public bodies are on track to achieve this target.
It will enable identification of the effectiveness of planned approaches, and provide the opportunity to alter these should they be required. We have suggested delivery plans to be produced every three years.
In our individual submission of evidence, we:
- Agree that statutory child poverty targets are necessary and believe the four income targets (relative poverty, absolute poverty, combined low income and material deprivation and persistent poverty) to be appropriate and relevant.
- Feel the Child Poverty Measurement framework should be reviewed so it is more closely linked to the income targets. The measurement framework also needs to do more to reflect different inequalities in Scotland.
- Welcome the measuring of relative income after housing costs, however we feel that it should be measured both before and after housing costs, allowing to measure the impact of housing policy.
- Advocate for direct involvement of children, young people and families in the scrutiny of the bill and production of delivery plans.
- Advocate for greater forward planning in local progress reports that are supported by local evidence.
- Call for children, young people and families who have experienced poverty to be included in any future national poverty and inequality commission.
Alongside our own submission, Children in Scotland also supports and endorses the calls made in the response given by the End Child Poverty coalition, of which we are members.