Policy overview: March 2024

Your monthly update of key policy developments of relevance to Parenting across Scotland, our members and wider network.

Scottish budget 2024/25

On 27th February 2024 the Scottish Parliament voted through the Scottish Budget for 2024/25. Prior to this vote, End Child Poverty Coalition members, including PAS, had sent a Budget Scorecard to all MSPs. The scorecard concluded that without an increase in the Scottish Child Payment to at least £30, the budget overall lacked the necessary levers to further reduce child poverty levels, putting the 2030 targets in jeopardy. Child Poverty Action Group Scotland described the budget as ‘bitterly disappointing’.

Child poverty statistics

The annual UK child poverty statistics were released on 21st March 2024. The Department of Work and Pension’s annual Households Below Average Income shows that a shocking 4.3 million children (30%) were in poverty in the year to April 2023 - up from 3.6 million in 2010-11. In Scotland, the situation is slightly better, with 240,000 children (24% of all children) living in poverty. However, antipoverty campaigners all agreed that these figures are still unacceptable.

The Scottish figures do not take account of the full impact of the Scottish Child Payment roll out and its increase to £25 in November 2022. Scottish Government modelling suggests that Scottish Government policies, including the Scottish Child Payment, might help child poverty rates to fall to 17% by 2026-27. Clearly they are making a difference. However, without a further increase in the Scottish Child Payment further progress towards the 2030 target is unlikely at this point.

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

As we move towards the UNCRC Act coming into force on 16th July, the Scottish Government has released its response to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Concluding Observations. They have also produced draft statutory guidance, which covers duties and reporting duties of public bodies in relation to the act. The guidance is currently out for consultation, with a deadline for consultation responses of 16th May 2024.

PAS has a seat on the Scottish Government’s Strategic Implementation Board, which exists to provide strategic oversight of action to implement the UNCRC in Scotland. Through this PAS has been supporting the Scottish Government to review and update its UNCRC information for parents, available on the ParentClub website. Updated information should be available within the next few months.

Minimum unit pricing

In March PAS joined 80 other organisations calling for an increase in Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol. The call featured in a joint letter produced by Alcohol Focus Scotland, sent to members of the Scottish Parliament Health, Social Care and Sport Committee ahead of their consideration of an increase in the minimum unit price from 50 to 65 pence per unit. On 26th March the Committee approved this proposal.

Circular landscape - graphic

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