What the SNP is doing to tackle poverty and inequality

The Scottish Parliament has passed world-leading legislation to tackle the root causes of fuel poverty. Fuel poverty is when a household cannot afford to heat itself properly, often being forced to choose between heat and other essentials.

The Bill ensures that by 2040 no more than 5 per cent of households in Scotland will be in fuel poverty – a credible, realistic and deliverable target.

By the end of 2021, we will have committed £1 billion to tackle fuel poverty and transform our homes to be warmer, greener and more energy-efficient.

But we know there is more to do across the board to tackle poverty and reduce inequality in Scotland.

In government we are taking action to make Scotland a fairer place to live.

  • We have established a new social security agency, the first new Scottish public service since devolution. Since the Social Security Bill was passed in April 2018, we have paid £197 million to over 83,000 families and carers.
  • We will continue to invest over £125 million to mitigate the worst impact of UK Government welfare cuts and support those on low incomes.
  • We are the only UK country to have set statutory targets for reducing child poverty. The targets are backed up by a new £50 million fund to tackle poverty at a grassroots level.
  • Over 316,000 low income households in crisis have been helped to buy essentials such as nappies, food and cookers through our Scottish Welfare Fund since it was established in 2013.
  • In the lifetime of this Parliament, we will deliver 50,000 affordable homes, backed by record investment of £825 million. Since 2007, we have delivered more than 82,000 affordable homes, including 55,920 for social rent.
  • Our Ending Homelessness Together Action Plan sets out our plans to end the scourge of homelessness for good. This is backed by our £50 million Ending Homelessness Together Fund.
  • All babies in Scotland are now provided with a Baby Box in a bid to reduce infant mortality and help families at the start of a child’s life. Since launched, over 80,000 boxes have been delivered – with uptake now at 96 per cent.
  • Scotland became the first country in the world to make sanitary products available free to all pupils and students. Following the roll-out in schools and universities, the Scottish Government is providing an extra £4 million funding to expand the number of places where free sanitary products are available.
  • We will continue to promote the Living Wage in all sectors across Scotland, and are leading the way on fair pay. Over 1,300 organisations are now accredited Living Wage employers – over one quarter of the total across the UK.
  • We’ve increased the provision of free childcare and early learning to 16 hours a week for all 3 and 4 year olds – up from 12.5 hours in 2007 – and extended to 2 year olds from low income households. By the end of this parliament, we’ll hit 30 hours a week, more than doubling spending to £990 million and saving families over £4,500 per child per year.
  • All 135,000 pupils in primaries 1 to 3 now benefit from free school meals, saving families around £400 per child per year.