Policy Overview: April 2024

April ended with Humza Yousaf’s announcement that he would be stepping down as Scotland’s First Minister after only 13 months in office. As we await the outcome of the leadership election and consider what this might mean for children and families, here are some other policy developments from April of note.

Child poverty

Sunday 6th April marked seven years since the start of the two-child limit to benefit payments. The End Child Poverty coalition described this as ‘the unhappiest of 7th birthdays’ and members used the opportunity to call again for all political parties to scrap this sibling tax. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly Rishi Sunak subsequently stated that that the Conservatives have no plans to remove the two-child limit.

Two new policy briefings highlighting the experiences of families living in poverty were also published this month. The first, published by Oxfam, explores the links between paid and unpaid care, poverty and inequalities in Britain. The second, from Inspiring Children’s Futures looks at families’ experiences of in work poverty and the implications for children’s rights.

Rwanda bill

The Safety of Rwanda Bill completed its passage through the UK parliament on 22nd April. The Bill, which has been widely denounced by human rights campaigners including PAS, contains powers to send some UK asylum seekers to Rwanda. This could include families with children. In a statement released in response to the Bill’s passing, the UN called the Bill ‘anything but safe’. As members of the Human Rights Consortium Scotland PAS will be meeting with others to discuss ways in which civil society can continue to fight against detentions and deportations.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Act 2024

As we move closer to the UNCRC Act coming into force on 16th July, the Scottish Government continues to consult on their draft statutory guidance, which covers duties of public bodies in relation to the act. The deadline for consultation responses is 16th May 2024.

Minimum unit pricing

On 17th April the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of increasing the minimum unit price of alcohol from 50 to 65 pence per unit. This followed the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee approval of an increase back in March. PAS joined other organisations from across Scotland, led by Alcohol Focus Scotland, in welcoming this development.