Poverty research and evidence from Policy Scotland


The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act in 2017 imposes a requirement on local authorities to tackle poverty.

White cardboard box with baby books and clothes inside

Scotland’s Baby Box. Image credit: Scottish GovernmentCC BY-NC 2.0

Following the passing of the Act, Policy Scotland provided several reports to support the work of the Poverty and Inequality Commission. The Commission provides independent advice to Scottish Ministers on poverty and inequality, monitoring progress, and proposing solutions to reduce poverty and inequality in Scotland.

These resources are all available here on the Policy Scotland website.

Report on the Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland 2014-2017

The Report on the Child Poverty Strategy for Scotland 2014-2017 examines the Scottish Government’s Child Poverty Strategy 2014-2017, in the context of the child poverty targets set out in the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act. The aim is to provide a basis for assessment of the effectiveness of measures intended to reduce child poverty.

The authors, Evan Williams, Nick Bailey and Des McNulty from University of Glasgow, found that many of the policies are expected to have a significant positive impact on different aspects of child poverty; however, gaps are identified in relation to the private rented sector and in how the Living Wage campaign is targeted.

Reducing child poverty in Scotland: modelling policies and scenarios

The  research report What Would Make a Difference for Scotland? identifies the policies and scenarios which appear to offer the biggest gains in reducing child poverty in Scotland.

Professor Glen Bramley, from the Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research at Heriot Watt University,  adapted and used an existing set of models to provide an independent assessment of the potential impact of a range of policy interventions on poverty and inequality . It suggests the areas in which the Scottish Government could adopt policies that would have an impact on child poverty.

Local Contributions to Tackling Poverty and Inequality in Scotland

The Local Contributions to Tackling Poverty and Inequality in Scotland report considers the contribution of local action to tackle poverty and inequality in Scotland, specifically, local action at the administrative scale of the local authority. The author, John H. McKendrick of the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University, focused on the evidential basis for and arguments in favour of locally targeted poverty reduction efforts.

In order to inform its advice on the Scottish Government’s Child Poverty Delivery Plan, the Poverty and Inequality Commission asked Policy Scotland to review the Scottish Government’s existing work on child poverty to analyse the impact of the work so far and the extent to which it was likely to have a direct impact on the 2030 child poverty target measures.

Blog series

Policy Scotland also published a series of blogs in 2018 reflecting on the action required to ensure that the child poverty strategy succeeds in its goals.

Evan Williams at Policy Scotland reflects on the Scottish Government’s Child Poverty Strategy 2014-2017 and argues that the success of the Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill will rely on policy initiatives that explicitly target welfare and housing provision.

In this guest blog Stephen Sinclair, Co-Director of the Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University, reflects on the step-change required to deliver the child poverty targets, arguing that the Scottish Government must be politically courageous in focusing public services where they are most needed, and ensuring employers play their part.

In this guest blog, John H. McKendrick, Professor of Social Justice at Glasgow Caledonian University and co-director of The Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit (SPIRU), welcomes the Poverty and Inequality Commission’s advice on reducing child poverty, and reflects on parts that are specifically relevant to single parent families.