• STV
  • MySTV

MSPs vote unanimously to pass UK-first child poverty law

The bill sets statutory targets for the Scottish Government to help end the problem.

Historic: Scotland is now the only part of the UK with targets to cut child poverty.
Historic: Scotland is now the only part of the UK with targets to cut child poverty. PA

Holyrood has passed legislation making Scotland the only part of the UK with statutory targets to cut child poverty.

MSPs unanimously backed the Scottish Government's Child Poverty Bill at its final parliamentary hurdle.

Equalities secretary Angela Constance told the Chamber it marked "a historic milestone on our road to eradicating child poverty".

"The bill signals the importance that we as a parliament and as a country place on tackling the unacceptable levels of child poverty across Scotland," she said.

In 2015/16, one in four children in Scotland was living in relative poverty after housing costs.

The legislation emerged following the UK Government's decision to remove targets from the Child Poverty Act 2010.

Scottish ministers will now be required to ensure that by 2030 less than 10% of children are in relative poverty, defined as those living in a home earning below 60% of the current median UK household income.

Less than 5% of children should be in absolute poverty, meaning households earning below 60% of the 2010/11 national median income.

Further targets are for less than 5% of children to be assessed as being in combined low income and material deprivation and less than 5% in persistent poverty.

Constance said: "We all know that the 2030 targets are highly ambitious and challenging but poverty is not inevitable and as we've seen during the passage of this ill there is a genuine cross-party desire to place these targets in statute and then to take action to meet them, and if everyone plays their part the targets are indeed achievable and we can transform the prospects of generations to come.

"This bill is the crucial next step."

Opposition MSPs previously united during the ill's committee stage of scrutiny to vote through amendments.

These required ministers to set out whether or not they will use new welfare powers to increase child benefit, include interim targets on the face of the ill and put the Poverty and Inequality Commission on a statutory footing.

Tory MSP Adam Tomkins said the bill was stronger as a result.

"I wish Angela Constance and her ministerial team well in seeking to meet these targets," he said.

"They are ambitious, it is right that they are ambitious, but today the Scottish Parliament sends to our country a strong and unified message, we are united that these targets should be met.

"We can make child poverty history in Scotland, so let's get to it."

'We can make child poverty history in Scotland, so let's get to it.'
Adam Tomkins MSP

Labour's Pauline McNeill said child poverty was a "national scandal" that UK Government welfare reforms had deepened.

She said: "The life chances of hundreds of thousands of children are affected because they live in a very low income household.

"I know that we all agree that no child should be robbed of their years in childhood because they are too poor."

Green MSP Alison Johnstone said the government would have to look at its powers to top up benefits and create new benefits.

She said: "The targets in the bill represent a major challenge, one to which we must rise.

"We should be ashamed in this wealthy country many of our children live well below the average accepted standard. We must break this cycle."

Lib Dem Alex Cole-Hamilton said the measure of the bill in tackling the "scourge" of child poverty would be in the progress against the targets.

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said: "This is a hugely welcome step in the fight to end child poverty in Scotland.

"We are delighted that in today's vote all the political parties at Holyrood have recognised that child poverty is unacceptable, that it is not inevitable and that it can be eradicated.

"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."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.