Campaigners welcome increased scrutiny proposals to Strengthen Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill
End Child Poverty coalition members in Scotland have welcomed the publication of the Stage One report from the Social Security Committee on the Scottish Government’s Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill which sets out clear markers for strengthening and improving the proposed legislation.
A spokesperson for the ECP members in Scotland supported the proposed introduction of interim targets as a useful way of measuring progress towards the 2030 targets and retaining focus on increasing income for families living in poverty.
“Children, young people and their families right across Scotland face a range of different difficulties and challenges on a daily basis. While the risk of being in poverty is greater for some families than others- such as single parent families or families affected by disability – what unites them is that they face these challenges living on a very low income in their day to day lives.
We welcome the Committee’s report and believe the recommendations will strengthen the existing Bill.
We are especially pleased that the Committee listened to our evidence and our suggested policy areas to focus and strengthen the Scottish Government’s Delivery Plans have been recommended by the Committee for inclusion within the Bill.”
As part of its evidence to the Committee, End Child Poverty members called for interim targets, greater detail setting out areas to be covered in the Delivery Plans, the need for a measurement framework to be included in the Bill, and the need for an Independent Scrutiny body.
ECP members argued the independent body could perform the scrutiny role previously fulfilled by the Child Poverty and Social Mobility Commission at UK level and believe that this role could be fulfilled by the Scottish Government’s proposed Poverty and Inequality Commission.
The spokesperson added:
“Expert scrutiny and oversight is essential in ensuring the Scottish Government and all public bodies will stay on track and make progress in meeting the income targets. The Committee’s support for the establishment of a Commission on a statutory footing with a scrutiny duty is particularly welcome.
However, we would still like to ensure local authorities and health boards have a strategic, forward-looking duty to ensure planning for future actions, and that retrospective reporting is included in the Bill.
We are encouraged by the progress that has already been made and look forward to working with MSPs and the government at Stage Two to bring forward amendments to improve and enhance the Bill.”
For more information, please contact Carla McCormack or by email or telephone 0141 353 0440.
1) End Child Poverty members include Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, The Poverty Alliance, Barnardo’s Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, Children 1st, and Children in Scotland.
2) The End Child Poverty Coalition in Scotland submitted written evidence to the Social Security Committee’s call for evidence: http://www.parliament.scot/S5_Social_Security/Inquiries/End_Child_Poverty.pdf