We’re determined to ensure that no child grows up in poverty anywhere in Scotland
The SNP Scottish Government is backing up its ambition with bold actions to build a fairer future for all.
Here’s all you need to know about the actions we’re taking to tackle child poverty.
The Scottish Child Payment: “game-changer” in our fight against child poverty
The SNP Scottish Government has introduced the Scottish Child Payment, which helps tackle child poverty by putting cash in the pockets of low income families with children.
The independent Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) hailed it as “an absolute game-changer in the fight to end child poverty”.
In 2022, to help with the cost of living crisis, we have increased the payment by 150%, to £25 per child per week – and extended the payment to all eligible under 16s.
Scotland is the only part of the UK where this additional support payment for families with children is available, and the Scottish Child Payment is the most ambitious anti-poverty measure taken across the four nations.
Best Start Grants: providing vital support in the early years of a child’s life
We are delivering three Best Start Grant payments to support families with payments at pivotal times in a child’s life.
The payments are providing families on lower incomes with £600 on the birth of their first child, and £300 on the birth of later children. Another payment is made around nursery age and school age of under 6s.
Together with our Scottish Child Payment and Best Start Foods – which is a Scottish Government benefit helping those who are pregnant or have young children with the costs of buying healthy, nutritious food – this is around £10,000 of vital support in the early years of life.
A Baby Box for every child born in Scotland: giving everybody an equal start in life
We’re determined that every child, regardless of their circumstances, should get the best start in life – which is why we’ve introduced and are delivering the Baby Box to every baby born in Scotland.
The box includes essential items for a baby’s first weeks and months, provides a safe space for babies to sleep, and helps tackle child poverty while supporting new parents.
Scotland’s policy has since been followed by other countries, such as Ireland.
Free early learning and childcare: saving families around £5,000 per child every year
We have delivered the transformative expansion of free, high quality childcare to 1,140 hours – the same time a child spends in primary school – for all 3 and 4 year olds, and 2 year olds from low income households.
We’ve also recently invested an extra £15 million in expanding school-age childcare – funding more after-school activities and holiday clubs to help tackle child poverty.
Scotland already has the most generous childcare provision anywhere in the UK, but we want to go even further.
This includes building a future system of ‘wraparound’ childcare and a new early learning and childcare offer for one and two-year-olds, starting with those who need it most.
Healthy, free school meals: saving families around £400 per child every year
We have significantly expanded free school meals provision – making them universal to all pupils in primaries 1 to 5, as well as eligible children from P6 up to S6.
We’re committed to further expanding eligibility to all pupils in primaries 6 and 7.
This is helping to save families around £400 per child every year, and helping to tackle inequality while improving children’s health and ability to learn.
Free bus travel for all young people under 22
We’re delivering the transformative policy of free bus travel for young people in every part of Scotland, across the whole country.
Everyone under the age of 22 – around 930,000 young people – are eligible, and over 50 million free bus journeys have already been made.
Scotland is the only nation in the UK where this is available, and free bus travel for under-22s saves £3,000 in the lifetime cost of a child in Scotland compared to England.
Record investment in education
We’re determined to ensure that every child has the best start in life – that’s why we’re investing a record amount in Scotland’s education system, with £1 billion for the Scottish Attainment Challenge to support our most disadvantaged pupils.
The funding goes directly to schools and headteachers, who provide targeted help to reduce the poverty-related attainment gap.
We also firmly believe that education must be based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay – which is why we’re delivering free tuition in Scotland, in contrast to England and Wales where students face fees of over £27,000.
Under the SNP, university admissions are at a record high – with 301,230 students enrolled at Scottish universities in 2021-22, and 16.5% of entrants coming from the 20% most deprived areas of Scotland.
A new, fairer, more compassionate social security system for Scotland
We have established a new social security system for Scotland, and are now delivering 13 Scottish Government benefits – seven of which are completely new and unique within the UK, such as the Carers Allowance Supplement and the Scottish Child Payment.
Most of the social security budget is still reserved to Westminster, but while almost 13 years of Tory austerity and welfare cuts have pushed families into poverty, we’re doing all we can to lift people out of poverty – including fully mitigating the Tory bedroom tax and, where powers allow, supporting families hit by the Tory benefit cap.
According to an IFS report, thanks to the Scottish Government’s policies, the poorest families with children in Scotland are around £2,000 better off per year.
While the SNP invests to lift people out of poverty, Westminster control drags us backwards
After thirteen years of brutal Tory austerity and a hard Brexit that Scotland never voted for, people and communities are facing real hardship – the price of Westminster control.
According to the OBR, the UK government’s own financial body, the economic hit of Brexit is twice as bad as that of Covid.
And while the UK is suffering the worst levels of poverty and inequality out of neighbouring countries, small independent nations like Ireland, Belgium or Denmark perform significantly better.
With the full powers of independence, Scotland can unleash its full potential and build a better society. Join us today and help make it happen.