The Scottish and UK governments must work together to tackle the issue of child poverty, according to a report published today by the Scottish Parliament’s Local Government and Communities Committee.
It believes that the Scottish and UK governments should collaborate to improve issues such as access to affordable childcare, flexible working and benefits uptake to lift children out of poverty.
Committee Convener Duncan McNeil MSP said: “The targets set by the UK Government to halve child poverty by 2010 and eliminate it by 2020 are supported by the Scottish Government. However, the targets can only be met if both governments work together and local authorities play their part.
"Two hundred thousand children living in relative poverty in Scotland is unacceptable. We believe that employment can be vital in tackling child poverty but barriers to work must be removed so that employment is sustainable and worthwhile. We need innovative family-friendly policies that help parents juggle work and childcare. We also need to make sure that the benefit system doesn’t act as a disincentive to work.”
The Committee’s report also calls for:
Scottish Government policies to be assessed for their impact on poverty
Local authorities to develop a toolkit to help develop local approaches to child poverty
Single Outcome Agreements to include specific outcomes on child poverty
Targeted campaigns to encourage the maximum uptake of benefit entitlements
A review of the co-ordination of advice provision and of the funding provided to advice agencies