Massive investment in the lifetime outcomes of Scotland’s children and young people

Key points:

  • The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 sets out our ambition for reducing and ultimately eradicating child poverty
  • Spend on early learning and childcare will more than double to reach nearly £1 billion a year by 2021-22
  • £750 million over this Parliament to tackle the poverty-related attainment gap

Tackling child poverty is crucial to improving children’s life chances. Our ambition to eradicate child poverty is backed by a range of investments including the £50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund. In June, we announced a new benefit, the Scottish Child Payment, which will provide low-income families with £10 per week per eligible child. The first payments for children under the age of 6 will be made before the Christmas 2020.


Almost 1 in 4 of Scotland's children live in poverty. Almost two thirds of children in poverty live in working households

We have already increased the provision of high quality funded early learning and childcare entitlement to 600 hours a year for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds.

To support the expansion in funded early learning and childcare entitlement to 1140 hours for all 3 and 4 year olds and eligible 2 year olds from August 2020, the annual revenue funding for the entitlement will increase by £567 million on 2016-17 levels. This will improve outcomes for all children, especially those who are more vulnerable or disadvantaged, and help to close the attainment gap. ELC will also contribute to tackling child poverty by supporting parents to work, train or study, especially those who need help with finding sustainable employment. Increasing the entitlement will require a substantially larger workforce, significant investment in infrastructure, and new, innovative models of delivery.

We are investing £750 million during this parliament to tackle the attainment gap and ensure every child has an equal chance to succeed. As announced in our 2019/20 Programme for Government and an early commitment on our top priority, we will continue funding for the Scottish Attainment Challenge at current levels beyond the end of this parliamentary term for a further year into 2021/22.

We are supporting Young Enterprise Scotland to deliver ‘Scotland’s Enterprising Schools’ to ensure a future involving enterprising activity is valid and viable for all young Scots.

Key resources:

Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017

Every Child, Every Chance: The Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2018-22

Scottish Government: Early Education and Care

Scottish Government: Pupil Attainment

Enterprising Schools