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Edinburgh, 12 March 2024 - Leading anti-poverty charities explore public attitudes to create solutions for change.

Save the Children Scotland and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) have joined forces to launch an ambitious two-year project focused on exploring the Scottish public’s attitudes to child poverty to create long-lasting change.  

With funding from The Robertson Trust, the project aims to inspire public support around well-evidenced policy solutions that could lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty.

Scotland has committed to statutory targets to reduce child poverty figures from 1 in 4 children to fewer than 1 in 10 children by 2030. This project aims to equip policymakers with the evidence and confidence to make the bold policy choices that are needed to achieve that.

The project will include a large-scale national survey, followed a by a citizens’ panel, using deliberative research techniques, to gather insight into public attitudes on the causes and possible solutions to child poverty in Scotland. It will use this evidence, informed by the voices of people with experience of poverty, to build broad support for bold policy choices to tackle child poverty so that campaigners, journalists and policy makers alike understand the public's appetite for change and are equipped to deliver financial security to households in Scotland.  

Claire Telfer, Head of Save the Children Scotland, said: “The Scottish Government has made a legal, binding commitment to drive down child poverty. We know that this is possible; we have the right tools in the toolbox. However, achieving this ambitious target requires bold policy changes. 

“Our project aims to achieve long-lasting change. And to make that change sustainable, it’s crucial that we build understanding about the root cause of child poverty to grow public support for policies that give every child in Scotland an equal and fair chance to thrive. 

“That means changing the way we think, feel, and speak about child poverty in Scotland. By changing the narrative and by truly reflecting the thoughts of those living on a low income, together we believe we will inspire public support and political action to end it for good.” 

Chris Birt, Associate Director for Scotland at JRF, said: “In the second half of this Scottish Parliament session it is crucial that politicians and decision makers across Scotland turn their minds to how to meet the Scottish Parliament’s child poverty targets.  That test will be one of the defining moments of devolution so far, can Holyrood succeed in proving its power to improve the lives of children in Scotland.  Of course, that will have to be done with public consent and support and this crucial project aims to provide the tools to do so...”

Key to the project is an expert Advisory Board who is responsible for overseeing and informing key stages of the project. This board is made up of a diverse mix of people from media, politics and government. The project has also been developed in consultation with experts in public attitudes research, The Diffley Partnership and communication and framing expert, Nicky Hawkins. 

Project Advisory Board member Alan Roden (co-CEO of Quantum Communications and a political consultant) said: “Child poverty is a moral disgrace and everyone in Scotland has a stake in ending it. 

“To meet Scotland’s ambitious targets to reduce child poverty we need everyone pulling together to deliver this national mission – including the public, private and third sectors. 

“With UK and Scottish elections on the horizon, this project is an opportunity to build that consensus.” 

Project Advisory Board member Liz Lloyd (political advisor) said: "Implementing actions to tackle poverty also requires challenging the stereotypes that are used against those experiencing poverty and thinking about how we talk about those who are in poverty.  

“This work is a critical part of showing politicians, policy makers, and employers that taking action to reduce poverty is essential not just for those who are experiencing it, but for the wider success of our society and our economy." 

The project will also build a community of practice made up of individuals and organisations who are interested in learning from research and utilising the narrative framework in their own work.


For more information, visit: Scotland | Save the Children UK