Collective action is needed to tackle child poverty

11 September 2019

Collective action and radical ideas will be required to eradicate child poverty in Scotland, a major conference at Glasgow Caledonian University heard.

More than 140 representatives from the public, private and third sector attended Scotland's first National Conference On Local Action to Tackle Child Poverty, held in partnership with the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit (SPIRU) at GCU.

Councils have been working with the NHS towards the Scottish Government's target of eradicating child poverty by 2030.

Their initial local action plans are now complete and officials gathered to discuss the progress made and chart the way forward.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Aileen Campbell MSP, in a keynote address, said: "It's great to see local authorities from all over Scotland represented here today because your presence represents the strength, determination and importance attached to the collective action to tackle child poverty.

"There is no one neat policy that will ultimately be the magic bullet to tackle poverty. What is needed is a range of actions, both nationally and locally, to care for families and lift them out of poverty."

Professor Pamela Gillies, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of GCU, opening the conference, said: "In Scotland, about 240,000 children are living in poverty and 65% of these children are in working households.

"Eradicating child poverty by 2030 is a really big ambition but it is achievable."

SPIRU is currently developing a database to allow councils to share their best ideas and practice online with bodies being urged to work together.

Professor Stephen Sinclair, co-director of SPIRU at GCU, added: "There's a sense of urgency in Scotland. There's an appetite for working together to tackle this, which is distinctive.

"We have to change the nature of employment and childcare, improve access to jobs, access to affordable food, access to transport - just getting to places where you can access services or work, is an issue.

"Real progress will require politically ambitious changes if we want to make significant in-roads into tackling child poverty."