Press Story

Child poverty statistics released today show that 260,000 children – the equivalent of over 11,000 primary school classes – were trapped in poverty in Scotland in 2022-23.

The Scottish Government has set itself a legally binding target to reduce child poverty to 10 per cent by 2030-31 – less than a decade’s time – with an interim target of 18 per cent to be met in 2023-24.

The think tank has warned that today’s figure of 26 per cent shows that target is at-risk of being missed – but that we should not accept that it will. IPPR Scotland is calling for further investment in the Scottish Child Payment alongside more ambitious action on childcare, housing, and employment.

Responding to the figures, Philip Whyte, director of IPPR Scotland, said:

“These figures must be a wakeup call. Despite repeated statements that tackling child poverty is a government priority, the rhetoric simply doesn’t match the reality. The numbers of children living in poverty has gone up by 20,000 in the last year – with more than a quarter of a million now trapped there.

“While these figures won’t yet capture the full impact of the Scottish Child Payment, they do show that all hopes are being pinned on that one policy – but it simply can’t do all the heavy lifting without further significant investment, and that can’t come at the expense of other equally ‘game changing’ efforts across other areas, including childcare, housing, and employment.

“Meeting the government’s legally binding, interim child poverty target will require 80,000 children being lifted out of poverty this year. We can’t give up hope for those children that the target can be met – but the evidence shows that we’re going in the wrong direction and significant new action is needed, now.”


Philip Whyte is available for interview


Liam Evans, Senior Digital and Media Officer: 07419 365334


  1. IPPR Scotland shapes public policy in pursuit of a fairer, greener, more prosperous Scotland.
  2. Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland 2020-23 is available at
  3. While poverty statistics will often use three-year averages (with this figure showing child poverty at 24%) the statutory targets in the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 are based on one-year figures. The figure for relative child poverty, after housing costs, on this measure is 26%.
  4. The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 set an interim target of 18% of children living in relative poverty in 2023-24. Figures published this time next year will show if that target has been met.