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Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

Reducing child poverty

National governments, Local Authorities and Health Boards, as well as other third sector and public organisations, have a key role to play in reducing child poverty and the effects it has on children’s health and wellbeing. 

Effective interventions for reducing child poverty include

  • structural changes to the economic, tax and benefits systems
  • legislative controls. 

Effective interventions to address the associated health impacts of child poverty include

  • maximisation of household income and resources
  • offering intensive support to those experiencing, or most likely to experience, problems – such as intensive home visiting, preschool education or child care.

Here you can find information on targets set out in the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 and the responsibilities it places on Scottish Ministers, Local Authorities and Health Boards.

We have also provided links to further information on specific interventions and actions you can take at a local level.

Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017

In 2015, the UK government decided to remove the four child poverty income targets from its legislation. The Scottish Government opted out of the revised UK approach and introduced its own income targets for reducing the number of children living in poverty. These were written into legislation under the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017.

The Act sets

  • four interim income targets - to be met in the financial year beginning 1 April 2023
  • four statutory income targets - to be met in the financial year beginning 1 April 2030

A statutory Poverty and Inequality Commission will be established from 1 July 2019. It will have functions relating to the child poverty reduction targets. 

You can find out more about this in our briefing, 'Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017: An overview'.

National actions and reporting on progress

The Act places a duty on Scottish Ministers to publish child poverty delivery plans in 2018, 2022, and 2026, and to report on those plans annually.

You can find out more about this on our national child poverty delivery plans page.

Local actions and reporting on progress

The Act also places a duty on Local Authorities and Health Boards to report annually on activity they are taking, and will take, to reduce child poverty. 

You can find out more about this, as well as information on guidance on implementing interventions at a local level, in our local action to reduce child poverty section.

Other policies and strategies 

You can find information on other policies and strategies to reduce child poverty within our briefing on child poverty.