Argyll and Bute Council reaffirmed its commitment to tackling child poverty when members approved a draft Child Poverty Action Plan at 27 June's full council.
The plan sets out what steps the council will take to tackle and raise awareness of child poverty and its intended outcomes.
In summary, these are to work effectively with partners to reduce poverty; to increase the level of awareness and understanding of the drivers of poverty; to develop links to key groups and consult with stakeholders; for the plan to be a live document responding to changing needs; to respect the rights of relevant groups and be based on the principles of equality and dignity; and to reflect the participation and consultation of those most affected, particularly children and young people.
It also sets out a clear vision:
“We want an Argyll and Bute where no-one lives in poverty. Everyone should be able to achieve their potential and feel healthy, happy and valued. We want to be a place where everyone understands that tackling poverty is everyone’s responsibility. We believe that if we act locally, and in partnership, we can make a real difference.”
The Council’s Policy Lead for Health and Social Care, Councillor Kieron Green said: “Being in poverty doesn’t necessarily mean living on the streets. Being in poverty is having to make almost impossible decisions on a day to day basis.
“It is parents having to decide whether they feed their children and go without food themselves; it means not being able to heat your home, pay your rent, or buy essentials for your children.
“It can adversely affect a child’s development too and have a negative impact of their health, their relationship with their family, their education and their aspirations.
“Whilst Argyll and Bute is an area of outstanding natural beauty that offers much to children and families in terms of quality of life, we are not exempt from poverty. As a local authority, it is our responsibility, together with our partners, to do everything we can to help alleviate this and ensure every child is given the best start in life.”
Argyll and Bute’s Child Poverty Action Plan will now be submitted to the Scottish Government for consideration, in line with the requirements of The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017.