Scottish Government Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan - OPFS Response

Last updated: 29/03/2018

In the face of the devastating predictions on the growth of child poverty we are pleased the child poverty delivery plan recommends a range of actions to increase family income or reduce costs.

- Satwat Rehman, Director of OPFS

The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act, which aims to reduce child poverty to less than 10% by 2030, says the Scottish Government must prepare a “delivery plan” which sets out the measures that aim to achieve the child poverty targets.

Responding to the publication today of the Scottish Government’s ‘Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan’, for 2018 to 2022, Satwat Rehman, Director of OPFS said:

“The impact of welfare reform means over 62% of children in single parent families are expected to live in poverty by 2021. This is a catastrophic injustice which government policy could prevent.

“We are therefore pleased that children living in single parent families have been identified as a priority group for Scottish Government when preparing their Delivery Plans. To get parents views on what should be in the plans OPFS carried out its own consultations involving over 250 parents.”

OPFS said its single parents’ consultation highlighted the need to:

  • Encourage policy makers to recognise the unique challenge single parents face of sole responsibility for the care of their children as well the economic survival of their family.
  • Invest in childcare that meets the flexibility needed by single parents who want to work or take up training and education.
  • Top up Child Benefit by £5 per week, which would lift 30,000 children out of poverty.
  • Introduce a minimum level of school clothing grant across Scotland to ensure equity
  • Ensure the Scottish Government’s multi-million funded employability initiative “Fair Start Scotland” provides programmes tailored for single parents to take account of the unique challenges they face.

Satwat Rehman added:

“In the face of the devastating predictions on the growth of child poverty we are pleased the child poverty delivery plan recommends a range of actions to increase family income or reduce costs.

“The announcement of a new income supplement for low income families could make a much-needed boost to families struggling to make ends meet. We hope it will be introduced speedily to get support to children who need it most. A new minimum amount for school clothing grant is to be welcomed. Research shows that it should be set at £129 to meet the minimum basic needs.

“The commitment to expanded early learning and childcare provision to 1,140 hrs is ground-breaking however we would also like to see investment in improving access to childcare that is flexible and affordable to meet the needs of single parents who are in employment, education or training.

“We also believe the UK government should reinstate targets for eliminating child poverty and end the punitive freeze on benefits for working and non-working families. No one thing will eradicate poverty, services need to come together and provide families with support to access education, training and employment. Wages need to be higher and benefit rates better to allow families to live a decent quality of life.”

OPFS consulted widely with single parents and this report covers feedback from a survey and a series of workshops held with 250 single mothers and fathers.

Download Single Parent Views report