The Child Poverty Act was introduced to ensure Scotland is the best place in the world to grow up, and lives up to the Fairer Scotland vision, eradicating child poverty is fundamental.
Child poverty can undermine the health, wellbeing and educational attainment of the children who experience it. A 2013 study found that child poverty in the UK was costing at least £29 billion a year.
Data for the period 2014-17 suggests 230,000 children were living in poverty in Scotland. This is equivalent to one in every four children.
In Scotland, around 7 in 10 children living in poverty live in a household where at least one adult is working, and 10% of children are living in persistent poverty.
In Angus (after housing costs) we have 4,273 (19%) children living in poverty (2017) with the worst hit ward Arbroath East and Lunan. In this area, 28.5% of children are living in poverty.
Due to the growing impact of child poverty the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act sets out four ambitious headline targets for 2030 that establish Scotland as the only part of the UK with statutory income targets on child poverty:
less than 10% of children are in relative poverty
less than 5% of children are in absolute poverty
less than 5% of children are in combined low income and material deprivation
less than 5% of children are in persistent poverty
Over the past 6 months, Angus Community Planning Partnership has developed a Child Poverty Working group to take forward this work – conducting the mapping of current and new activity, supporting practitioners to prioritise activity and organising a regional child poverty summit to co-produce the delivery plan.
Here in Angus, we are now putting poverty and wellbeing at the heart of all of our strategic work as a Community Planning Partnership. This has been seen with the locality approach to identify local challenges and ensure effective engagement with our communities.
Significant investment in the Early Years agenda in Angus will help to pave the way towards ‘Getting it right for every child’ from day 1 and links to the improved referral pathways identified by the NHS to ensure 100% take-up of services, for example, baby boxes.
The Child Poverty Act introduced the requirement for local authorities and each relevant Health Board to jointly prepare a Local Child Poverty Action Report. This report alongside the Angus Poverty Profile and Action Plan sets out the background and current picture in Angus, what actions are being taken to tackle each of the three drivers of poverty and our planned way forward.