The UK Government’s decision to alter the way child poverty is measured has led to the Scottish Government’s withdrawal from the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. SNP MPs will also table an amendment to the Child Poverty Act 2010 when the bill starts its committee stage on Thursday, to remove all of the legislation’s duties on the Scottish government.
The Scottish Government will retain the long-established method of measuring household poverty at below 60% of the median income, instead of adopting the UK Government’s new measures, which they say would remove those children from households in work from poverty targets. Given the continuing increase in in-work poverty, with most households living in poverty now in work, the UK’s plans to redefine the measures are described as “absurd” by the Scottish Social Justice secretary Alex Neil.
He also said that scrapping the current measures in favour of alternatives proposed in the Welfare Reform and Work Bill, such as parental drug or alcohol dependency, was “a move towards characterising poverty as a lifestyle choice”, rather than looking at the structural causes of poverty.”
The Scottish Government will instead begin discussions with the independent poverty adviser and other stakeholders to further develop a Scottish approach to measuring, reporting and tackling poverty.
Source: Scottish Government