Very quick summary:
- Scotland is not on track to hit its legal target of reducing relative child poverty to 18% by 2023-24
- In fact, child poverty is more likely to rise than fall
- UK-wide benefit policy is the key cause of this, with the benefit freeze, two-child limit and other welfare cuts taking substantial amounts of money from lower income parents.
- But the Scottish government also has the power to reduce child poverty, and much will depend on the generosity, design and funding of the promised ‘Income Supplement’ (note: this is now called the ‘Scottish Child Payment’).
- The Scottish government should also be concerned with the quality of existing poverty statistics. Due to an under-reporting of benefit income in household surveys, it may be that the existing targets will eventually need revising and that recorded poverty trends may not fully reflect policy changes.