Scotland is set to bring forward legislation to tackle the deep-rooted causes of child poverty, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
The new Child Poverty Bill will to set out a new approach to tackling poverty and inequality and provide a clear way forward for delivering the SNP Government’s ambition of eradicating child poverty.
The SNP Government has rejected the UK Government’s decision to abandon income-based child poverty targets and will develop Scottish legislation after the Tories repealed large parts of the existing UK-wide legislation.
A consultation setting out proposals for the Bill will be published, building on the existing work from our well-established Child Poverty Strategy.
The First Minister said:
“It is simply unacceptable that children are growing up in poverty and we must do all we can to tackle the inequality that still exists in 21st century Scotland.
“While we have made progress through the Child Poverty Strategy, it’s clear from Independent Poverty Advisor, Naomi Eisenstadt’s feedback that we must enshrine our distinctly Scottish approach in law.
“The consultation and Bill will allow us to refine our approach and ensure it best meets the requirements of those who so desperately need it. I am also delighted to announce Naomi’s reappointment. Her work has provided a hugely valuable insight into our proposals for tackling inequality and given the SNP Government a clear focus going forward.
“The UK Government has signalled that they do not see child poverty and the incomes of poor families as priorities by repealing large parts of the Child Poverty Act 2010, including income-based child poverty targets. That is fundamentally wrong and we profoundly disagree in the strongest possible terms.
“We will work closely with Naomi and others, including our Ministerial Advisory Group on Child Poverty, to develop our proposals, reflecting the importance we continue to place on this challenge of protecting the most vulnerable in society.”
Naomi Eisenstadt, the Independent Poverty Advisor, added:
“Everyone in Scotland has a role to play in helping to eradicate child poverty, and a new Child Poverty Bill is a positive, practical and constructive step forward which will place in statute Scotland’s welcome commitment to tackling child poverty.”
Commenting, Kenneth Gibson said:
“This legislation will maximise the chances for all people living in Scotland to lead productive, healthy lives and hopefully happier lives. We must stop the cycle of endemic poverty and minimise the risk of children being born into poverty.”
More information on The Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland 2014-17 can be found here.