Tackling Child Poverty through Inclusive Growth

An update from the Director of Regional Economic Growth

I wanted to use this month’s Blog to provide an update on important work underway across the Region on the issue of tackling Child Poverty.

Child Poverty is of course an unacceptable reality, with nearly one in four children in Scotland officially recognised as living in poverty.

The Scottish Government’s Child Poverty Act sets out a range of actions to reduce the issue significantly by 2030. In Glasgow City Region, where 29% of children are considered living in poverty, individual delivery plans developed by each of our eight Member Authorities will support the Child Poverty Act ambitions. Clearly these plans address very specific local issues – as there are acute differences across Member Authority areas.

However, in addition to these individual plans, a Regional partnership approach and delivery plan for Inclusive Growth and Child Poverty has also been agreed between the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Region Cabinet.

Key drivers across the Region are unemployment due to long term sickness and in-work poverty / income from employment. Since we know that Glasgow City Region residents often have their place of work based in a different Member Authority area to that in which they live – there are clearly opportunities and benefits to a Region-wide approach.

Last month a workshop took place with the key purpose of exploring how we can work together across the Region to eliminate Child Poverty. It brought together for the first time those with key roles in tackling Child Poverty across our eight Member Authority areas, along with staff working in employability, economic development, health, education, the third sector and the Scottish Government.

The event provided the chance to share learning across the breadth of the Region, to consider and discuss what has worked or not worked in different areas, explore new ideas and identify areas where Regional approaches to Tackling Child Poverty could add value.

The workshop was a great success, with much debate, learning and ideas generated for better and more effective ways of working. A report of findings and recommendations is set to be presented to a future Cabinet. 

This of course builds on existing commitments made by the Glasgow City Region Cabinet including  ensuring that our City Deal programme along with other investments are strongly focused on delivering Inclusive Growth and its Child Poverty dimensions. Revisiting how we monitor and measure our projects will allow us to more effectively report on how well we are doing on these ambitions. We also plan to work more closely with businesses, explore opportunities to support skills building to achieve in-work progression or employment support for low wage families and provide tailored support to sectors of the economy which can have the greatest impact on achieving inclusive growth. At a practical level, this might involve revisiting the type of community benefits we ask for from suppliers to more strongly target those at risk and experiencing Poverty.

Our refreshed Regional Economic Strategy will also have an increased focus on Inclusive Growth and Tackling Poverty.

Moving to other activities, this month Glasgow City Region isco-hosting a City Living Conference with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Committee for Housing and Land Management (UNECE). UNECE has championed affordable and social housing and the conference will consider how the City Region’s resident will live in the years to come and what we, as policy makers and service providers, can do to make sure our residents live well.

Preparations for the third Infrastructure Summit are also almost complete and we look forward to welcoming leaders and decision-makers from key utility and infrastructure providers to the City Chambers later this month. The summit provides an opportunity for senior leaders to participate in decision-making about how best to collectively take the infrastructure development of the Glasgow City Region forward. Discussions are planned around Digital Connectivity; how we can collaborate on the  ‘Internet of Things’ as applied to infrastructure monitoring; the impact of climate change and the adaptations we will require to make, as well as the opportunities to think creatively about the opportunities for Place-making. Significant progress will also be reported in terms of coordinating our infrastructure projects and investments across the Region.

Kevin Rush is the Director of Regional Economic Growth for Glasgow City Region.

Read the August Blog: Five year milestone

Read the July Blog: Powering up our economic intelligence

Read the June Blog: A progress update