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Action Plan to Tackle Child Poverty Launched at Newly Accredited Employer in South Lanarkshire

Posted: 2019-06-25 13:35:03

Action Plan to Tackle Child Poverty Launched at Newly Accredited Employer in South Lanarkshire

Local organisations have teamed up to reduce child poverty across South Lanarkshire.


Through the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017, the Scottish Government placed a new duty on local authorities and health boards to produce annual Local Child Poverty Action reports from this month onwards.


South Lanarkshire’s report, published this week, outlines not just the work of South Lanarkshire Council and Lanarkshire Health Board to tackle child poverty but a comprehensive plan involving the wider Community Planning Partnership, bringing together South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, Skills Development Scotland and a variety of partners from the voluntary sector.


Almost 14,000 children in South Lanarkshire – more than one in five in the area – are officially living in poverty, and the South Lanarkshire Partnership’s plan will focus on three key priorities which are most likely to put more money in the pockets of low income families.


It will aim to increase income from employment; reduce the costs of living; and increase income from social security and benefits in kind.


Actions to achieve these include increasing the school clothing grant to £130 per child; supporting families to access free early years/childcare entitlements; providing benefits and money advice to families to support improved financial wellbeing and supporting young adults and parents into work that pays fairly .


Councillor Maureen Chalmers, Chair of the Community Planning Partnership, said: “A concerted approach, working closely with partners who all bring their own particular resources and fields of expertise, allows us to bring to bear an effective set of measures and, in targeting specific aspects of the problem, it will allow us to make real differences to families’ lives.


“We already do a great deal of meaningful work in this field and the Action Plan, and the benefits that each partner brings, will enable this blight on our society to be tackled with even greater vigour.”


NHS Lanarkshire’s chair, Neena Mahal, said: “Child poverty is increasing and can have a negative and long-lasting impact on children’s health, educational achievement and future life chances.


“NHS Lanarkshire is committed to working with its community planning partners to support families to maximise their income from employment and benefits, both as a large local employer and health service provider.”


The Action Plan was launched this week at ACE Place Nursery and Out of School Care, Rutherglen, which recently became a Living Wage Accredited employer.


Councillor Chalmers added: “One area of work we know will make a meaningful change is encouraging local employers to pay the real Living Wage, and I am delighted that South Lanarkshire has one of the highest numbers of Living Wage Accredited employers in Scotland.


“It is therefore very apt that, on the day we are publishing our local action plan to tackle child poverty, we are celebrating ACE Place achieving Living Wage Accreditation, which means that every member of their staff now earns at least £9 per hour – the current real Living Wage rate.”


Jack Evans, Manager of Living Wage Scotland , said: “I am delighted to congratulate ACE Place on becoming a Living Wage employer and I hope more organisations in Lanarkshire follow their lead by becoming accredited.


“The real Living Wage is one of the key tools at our disposal to help make an impact on levels of poverty in Scotland. There is a strong business case for paying the real Living Wage but crucially it allows those in work to become more included in society, better provide for their families, and feel that their value and hard work is recognised by their employer.”


Alison Harkin, Director of ACE Place Nursery and Out of School Care, said: “ACE Place are delighted to have become a Real Living Wage Employer and thankful to our parents and partners for recognising the value of our service and supporting us to achieve this. We have a great staff team who rightly deserve to be remunerated accordingly.”


Click here for full details of the Child Poverty Action Plan.

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