Martin Whitfield MSP is backing calls for the SNP-Green Government to step up action on preventing child poverty, following the publication of a new report reviewing government progress on the issue.
Tackling Child Poverty, a joint briefing by Audit Scotland and the Accounts Commission, states more than one in four children were in poverty before Covid, but warns the cost of living crisis would make the situation worse. The new report also says policies still prioritise helping youngsters out of poverty instead of ways to prevent it.
In 2017, new statutory targets were set to significantly reduce four key indicators of child poverty by 2023/24, and then again by 2030/31. But the most commonly used indicator, relative child poverty, increased from an average of 21% across 2011-14 to 24% across 2017-20.
Commenting on the briefing, Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“The number of children living in poverty in Scotland is nothing short of a national scandal, with more now in poverty than when new statutory targets were set in 2017. The SNP have been in power for 15 years, but on their watch child poverty is getting worse, not better.
“This report is important because it highlights that mitigating the negative impacts of poverty is not the same as eradicating it. There is much more the Government need to be doing to prevent poverty in the first place.
“The SNP-Green government must listen to the stark warning contained in this report and use the powers they have to drive down rates of child poverty and make sure every child in Scotland gets a fair start.”