How Scotland is fighting child poverty with £1.6m fund

Scotland is taking action to reduce child poverty by investing £1.6 million in various initiatives that aim to support low-income families and children. The fund, which is part of the Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan, will be used to fund projects that address the three drivers of child poverty: income from employment, income from social security and benefits in kind, and costs of living.

Boosting income from employment

One of the main challenges that many families face is finding and keeping a decent job that pays enough to cover their living expenses and provide a secure future for their children. The Scottish Government is committed to creating more and better jobs, increasing the living wage, and supporting parents to access training and education opportunities.

Some of the projects that will receive funding from the £1.6 million fund are:

  • One Parent Families Scotland, which will provide tailored support to single parents to help them find and sustain employment, as well as access childcare and other services.
  • The Wise Group, which will work with employers to create more flexible and family-friendly workplaces, and offer mentoring and coaching to parents who are looking for work or want to progress in their careers.
  • The Poverty Alliance, which will expand its Living Wage accreditation scheme and encourage more employers to pay their workers a fair wage that meets the cost of living.

Increasing income from social security and benefits in kind

Another key factor that affects child poverty is the level and adequacy of social security and benefits that families receive. The Scottish Government has introduced several measures to provide more financial support to families and children, such as the Scottish Child Payment, the Best Start Grant, and the School Clothing Grant.

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Some of the projects that will receive funding from the £1.6 million fund are:

  • Citizens Advice Scotland, which will deliver a national campaign to raise awareness of the Scottish Child Payment and other benefits that families may be entitled to, and help them apply for them.
  • Children 1st, which will provide advice and advocacy to families who are experiencing financial hardship and facing issues such as debt, eviction, or sanctions.
  • One Parent Families Scotland, which will offer financial health checks to single parents and help them maximise their income and reduce their outgoings.

Reducing costs of living

The third driver of child poverty is the high and rising costs of living that many families have to cope with, such as housing, food, energy, transport, and childcare. The Scottish Government is working to make these essential goods and services more affordable and accessible, as well as to tackle the root causes of poverty and inequality.

Some of the projects that will receive funding from the £1.6 million fund are:

  • Home-Start UK, which will support families with young children to improve their home energy efficiency, reduce their fuel bills, and access grants and discounts for energy-saving measures.
  • Save the Children, which will deliver a programme to help families with children under five to improve their food security, nutrition, and budgeting skills, and access healthy and affordable food.
  • Children in Scotland, which will develop and test a new model of childcare that is affordable, flexible, and responsive to the needs of families and children.

Aiming for ambitious targets

The £1.6 million fund is part of the Scottish Government’s ambitious plan to tackle child poverty and meet the targets set by the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017. The Act requires the Scottish Government to reduce the proportion of children living in relative poverty to 18% by 2023 and to 10% by 2030.

According to the latest statistics, an estimated 24% of children in Scotland, or 240,000 children each year, were living in relative poverty after housing costs in the years from 2017 to 2020. The Scottish Government estimates that the extended and increased Scottish Child Payment could lift 50,000 children out of relative poverty in 2023/24, reducing child poverty levels by five percentage points.

The Scottish Government also reports that an estimated £3.03 billion was invested across a range of programmes targeted at low-income households in 2022-23, with £1.25 billion directly benefiting children. These figures represent an increase of £430 million and £150 million respectively, compared with 2021-22.

The Scottish Government is determined to continue its efforts to tackle child poverty and create a fairer and more prosperous Scotland for all.

By Zane Lee

Zane Lee is a talented content writer at Cumbernauld Media, specializing in the finance and business niche. With a keen interest in the ever-evolving world of finance, Zane brings a unique perspective to his articles and blog posts. His in-depth knowledge and research skills allow him to provide valuable insights and analysis on various financial topics. Zane's passion for writing and his ability to simplify complex concepts make his content engaging and accessible to readers of all levels.

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