Child poverty ‘not a priority’ in Scotland

Fewer than half of senior local council officers in Scotland feel that child poverty is a political priority in their authority, according to a survey by the Save the Children charity. The survey was conducted one year after the introduction of the Scottish Government's child poverty strategy.

 

Key findings

  • Council leaders and senior officers are aware of the level of child poverty in their area, and recognise that child poverty is a problem. But less than one half of them feel child poverty is a political priority in their authority.
  • Only 16 per cent of local authorities in Scotland have developed a local child poverty action plan. Only 5 per cent have established a child poverty development group, or undertaken a child poverty impact assessment.
  • 56 per cent of council officers say their authority has a general target to reduce poverty in their area: but none seem to have a local child poverty target, with most local authorities addressing the problem only as part of a more general anti-poverty strategy.
  • There is only a low level of engagement with families and children themselves, with only one third of authorities saying they work directly with households experiencing poverty.

The report's authors comment that although there is evidence that local authorities in Scotland have embraced the child poverty agenda, there are also indications that the practical action required to make progress still lags behind this commitment.

Source: John McKendrick and Stephen Sinclair, Local Action to Tackle Child Poverty in Scotland, Save the Children
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