We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Child Poverty in Scotland — [Sir David Crausby in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:46 pm on 30th October 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 3:46 pm, 30th October 2019

I will talk about in-work poverty, because that issue was raised. We take child poverty extremely seriously. I raise the additional 3.6 million people in work—around 1,000 per day since the Government came into office in 2010—because of the clear evidence that children in working households are not only less likely to grow up in poverty but have significantly better life chances.

To give the hon. Member for Motherwell and Wishaw the statistics, a child living in a household where every adult is working is around five times less likely to be in relative poverty than a child in a household where nobody works, and children growing up in workless families are almost twice as likely as children in working families to fail at all stages of their education. It is important to note that 44,000 fewer children are in workless households in Scotland compared with 2010, and that child poverty in Scotland remained the same or decreased across all four main measures in the three years to 2017-18, compared with the three years to 2009-10.

It is important to stress that the Government believe that tackling poverty requires an approach that goes beyond providing a financial safety net through the Department for Work and Pensions. That requires a collective approach that addresses the root causes of poverty and disadvantage to improve long-term outcomes for children and families, which is why we have taken wider cross-Government action to support and to make a lasting difference to the lives of the most vulnerable, who often face complex employment barriers. That is people whose ability to work is, for example, frustrated by issues such as a disrupted education, a history of offending, mental health issues, or drug and alcohol abuse. That is why our jobcentre work coaches work with external partners to offer individualised, specialist support to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society to turn their lives around.