Monday, 10 January 2011

Tackling Child Poverty

The Scottish Government opened up a consultation process on the issue of child poverty in Scotland. The Child Poverty Act was passed on March 2010 with the target of eliminating child poverty throughout the UK by 2020. I think the discussion paper issued as part of the consultation process is a useful overview of the Scottish Government’s initiatives since this target was set.

The Church and Society Council presented a response to this consultation in collaboration with Faith in Community Scotland, Scottish Churches Housing Action, the Church in Society Committee of the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Methodist Church in Scotland,. All of these faith-based organisations have worked on the alleviation of poverty over a number of years and welcomed the opportunity to share their experiences and ideas to reflect on the best way for Government to address child poverty. The eradication of child poverty is an area on which the Kirk has taken a keen interest. In 2009 it published the “Growing up in Scotland “ report and has supported initiatives through the Poverty Truth Commission.

The government discussion paper is useful reading, but, as our response explains “the discussion paper does not address the degree of change that would be required to achieve the 2020 targets.” It is disappointing that the discussion paper included neither strategic priorities nor actions with long and short term targets. What is needed is a strategic approach that addresses the effect of the cuts on child poverty since there is ample evidence that child poverty is likely to rise as a result of budgetary reforms.

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