The Scottish Parliament passed the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill on 8 November 2017. The Bill received Royal Assent on 18 December 2017.
The Bill establishes, in law, four targets for tackling child poverty which must be met by 31 March 2031. Scotland is now the only part of the UK with statutory targets to tackle child poverty.
The Bill requires the Scottish Ministers to create delivery plans to tackle child poverty. The Scottish Ministers must report progress to Parliament. The first delivery plan runs from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2022. Subsequent plans will run from 2022 to 2026 and from 2026 to 2031.
Local authorities and health boards must report jointly on their activity to address child poverty at the local level.
The Social Security Committee led the scrutiny of this Bill
Stakeholder engagement and committee scrutiny strengthened the Bill
The role of the Social Security Committee at Stage 1 was to recommend to the Parliament whether the general principles of the Bill should be agreed to. We did this based on evidence we heard from a wide range of stakeholders.
The Social Security Committee asked people what they wanted to see from this Bill between February and April 2017. 41 organisations and individuals wrote to the committee.
The Social Security Committee met in Glasgow City Chambers to take evidence on the Bill on 27 March 2017. We chose Glasgow for our first meeting because research shows that child poverty is highest here. More than one in three children in the Glasgow City area are living in poverty; the highest ratio in Scotland.
"The bill signals the importance that we as a Parliament and as a country place on tackling the unacceptable levels of child poverty across Scotland".
"The Coalition to End Child Poverty helped to improve the bill in a number of ways. The Scottish Youth Parliament, among others, powerfully represented the views and interests of young people. Oxfam Scotland played a valuable role in helping to prepare of the introduction of the Poverty and Inequality Commission".
Angela Constance, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities
"It is important that there is a statutory Poverty and Inequality Commission...that is accountable to us as MSPs and not merely the minister of the day".
Adam Tomkins, MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Communities, Social Security and Equalities (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party)
"I have been keen to highlight the issues of lone parents and those with a disability, and I am pleased that they are now in the bill and will have to be addressed by ministers".
Pauline McNeill, MSP, Shadow Communities Minister (Scottish Labour Party)
"Today is a really important day for the Scottish Parliament. By putting targets for the reduction of poverty back into law, we are saying that child poverty in a country that is as well-off as Scotland is not acceptable and the the Parliament will expend every effort to reduce it significantly as we work to eradicate it".
Alison Johnstone, MSP, Spokesperson for:Health & Sport; Social Security; Children & Young People (Scottish Green Party)
What happens now?
The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act received Royal Assent on 18 December 2017.