Growing up in poverty can have a profound and lasting impact on children's outcomes - income poverty and material deprivation are strongly associated with poorer outcomes for children. Evidence tells us not only of the cost to individuals, but also of the great cost to society caused by child poverty, and of the economic case for shifting resources into early intervention and prevention.
Apart from the economic imperative, poverty places a blight on individuals' lives, on the communities in which they live and on society in general. Scotland is a compassionate nation with a strong sense of social justice and a belief in addressing the needs of the vulnerable. The Government believes it is morally unacceptable that 15% of Scotland's children live in combined poverty and material deprivation.
Poverty is a consequence of a complex and interrelated range of international, national, local community and individual factors. It is influenced by issues such as: the global economy; the UK tax and benefits system; national and local employment rates and wages; education and skills; family upbringing; health and disability; deprived physical environments; access to services; and transport.
There are many drivers of poverty beyond the Scottish Government's control - including macro-economic conditions and a number of levers reserved to the UK Government, such as tax/benefits arrangements. However, the Scottish Government has a significant role to play in tackling the root causes of poverty, and mitigating the impacts of poverty, through its policies in devolved areas such as education, health, skills, aspects of employability, housing, the criminal justice system and transport. The Government's role in setting and agreeing the key outcomes to be achieved in these areas; in targeting investment and passing legislation in pursuit of these outcomes; and in supporting local delivery bodies in meeting these outcomes, is key to delivering effective interventions which can tackle poverty and help make progress with this indicator.
The percentage of children who were in combined material deprivation and low income slowly fell since 2004/05 from 17% down to 9% in 2011/12. Since then it has remained fairly stable with a few fluctuations, staying constant at 10% since 2014/15 until the latest year, 2016/17.
This evaluation is based on: any difference within +/- 2.0 percentage points of last year's figure suggests that the position is more likely to be maintaining than showing any change. A decrease of 2.0 percentage points or more suggests the position is improving; whereas an increase of 2.0 percentage points or more suggests the position is worsening.
For information on general methodological approach, please click here.
Scotland Performs Technical Note
Safer and Stronger
Wealthier and Fairer