Yesterday (20th December 2018), The Scottish Government published its progress report on the Fairer Scotland Action Plan, which outlines 50 actions that seek to help tackle poverty, reduce inequality and build a fairer and more inclusive Scotland[1].

We’ve highlighted below the seven most pertinent and relevant points to care experienced people and those that support them.

What do you think of the Scottish Government’s progress on the action plan? Has enough been done? Let us know at [email protected]!

Introduce a new Child Poverty Bill

“The Child Poverty Bill was introduced to parliament in February 2017 and became the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 in December. The Act requires Scottish Ministers to meet ambitious child poverty targets by 2030 and in March 2018, we published our first delivery plan to help us do that.”

Make real progress in closing the attainment gap during the lifetime of this Parliament and to eliminate it, as far as we can, over the next decade

“£8.2 million will support a new fund to help improve educational outcomes and attainment for care-experienced children and young people.

Additional funding of £8.2 million in 2018-19 will support a new fund specifically for care-experienced children and young people, to be directed by local authorities. This funding will provide targeted initiatives, activities and support that will help improve educational outcomes and attainment for this group of disadvantaged young people.”

Tackle poverty directly for some of our most vulnerable children by delivering parity of child allowances between kinship and foster carers

“The Scottish Government provided additional funding of £10.1 million a year to enable local authorities to pay kinship care allowance at the same rate as paid to foster carers within their area.

The National Review of Care Allowances (Foster, Kinship and Adoption) began in autumn 2017. The Review Group supporting this work first met on 20 November 2017 and then regularly throughout 2018. The aim of the Review Group was to consider the current landscape of foster, kinship and adoption allowances, including the practical and financial support available to families and those who support them, and to recommend ways in which it could be improved.

The Review Group’s report and recommendations, published on 14 September 2018, suggests changes to give carers of children in foster, kinship and adoption care smoother access to information and more consistent financial support. We are working in partnership with COSLA and other stakeholders on a response to this report.”

Take action to reduce youth unemployment by 40% by 2021

“With youth unemployment figures at 28,000 in May 2018, the Developing Young Workforce programme has achieved the target to reduce youth unemployment by 40% by 2021.

In the year ahead, there will be continued focus on implementing the Modern Apprenticeship Equality Action Plan to help increase the participation of young people from under-represented groups, such as care leavers, disabled people and minority ethnic communities.”

Widen access to university

“We are making good progress on our commitment that students from the 20% most deprived backgrounds should represent 20% of entrants to higher education by 2030. Following the independently chaired Student Support Review, we have increased the care experience bursary to £8,100 and extended this to students studying in further education from 2018-19.”

Introduce a Job Grant for young people aged 16-24 who have been out of work for six months or more

“We are working to introduce a Job Grant to young people aged 16-24 who have been out of paid employment for six months or more. The grant will be a one off payment of either £100 or £250 for individuals with children, and a travel element to help with travel costs for the first three months of employment.”

Do more to promote the Living Wage

“The Scottish Government is providing £340,000 in 2018-19 to the Poverty Alliance Scotland to deliver the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative. There are now over 1,300 Accredited Living Wage Employers in Scotland. Scotland remains the best performing of all four UK countries, with the highest proportion of employees paid the Living Wage or more (80.6%).”

Read the full progress report

Read the Fairer Scotland Action Plan

[1] Scottish Government (2016) Fairer Scotland Action Plan