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Scotland to cut child poverty with new targets

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Ambitious targets aim to tackle the scourge of poverty

Scotland is to become the only part of the UK with statutory targets to tackle child poverty after the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament.

The bill sets in statute targets to reduce child poverty to less than 10% by 2030. Currently more than one in four, 260,000, children are living in relative poverty in Scotland.

The new law also places a duty on ministers to publish child poverty delivery plans at regular intervals and to report on progress annually.

It will also establish a poverty and inequality commission.

It was brought forward in response to the repeal of sections of the UK Child Poverty Act, to reinstate the use of a set of income-based targets.

Equalities secretary Angela Constance said: “Meeting our ambitious new targets will be challenging and it will seem like we are often fighting with one hand behind our back in the face of the cuts, which are set to increase child poverty across the UK by around one million children.

“But the Scottish Government intends to take positive action to address child poverty and tackle the deep seated generational inequalities in our society.”

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland said the bill was a hugely welcome step in the fight to end child poverty in Scotland.

He added: “The unanimous support for income-based child poverty targets and for national delivery plans setting out the employment, social security, housing and childcare measures needed to end child poverty creates an important springboard for the action and investment that is now needed.

“It is now vital that the UK government reinstates the child poverty targets andduties that are needed to drive progress at UK level.”