Challenges of Child Poverty and Fairness

Challenges of Child Poverty and Fairness  Image

The scale of the task faced by Dundee agencies to address local child poverty and fairness issues across the city is outlined in a new report.

While Dundee is setting itself the ambitious goal of matching the Scottish Government’s overall national target of reducing child poverty to less than 10% of children living in relative poverty, latest figures show a rate of 28.2% for the city.

A combined Fairness and Local Child Poverty Action Plan Report for 2023/24 is to go before the City Governance committee at its next meeting. The document sets out how the council and partners will work together to try and improve the situation for families and communities across Dundee.

Dundee City Council was the first Local Authority in Scotland to declare a Cost-of-Living Crisis in June 2022, and a series of Cost-of-Living summits was held to agree actions.

  • Funding of over £1.5m was spent on a range of measures to mitigate the impact of poverty and the cost-of-living crisis in 2023/24.
  • Further funding of £50,000 was allocated for fairness activities in the 2023/24 budget, with the Local Fairness Initiatives and the Fairness Leadership Panel support being prioritised. This was in addition to, £6.73m of payments being made via Holiday Support, Scottish Welfare Fund and Discretionary Housing Payments.
  • A range of work on income maximisation initiatives across the city to ensure citizens are receiving all benefits and support payments they are entitled to, which has generated around £13.6m in income. 
  • The Dundee Child Poverty Pathfinder has increased employability opportunities for 188 families in Linlathen affected by a range of inequalities. This provides the support to enable parents to secure incomes to address child poverty that may be experienced by the 256 children living in these households.
  • In Stobswell West, greater money and benefit advice is being provided in partnership with the Stobswell Forum at the Connect shop, greater community and intergenerational activities, and efforts to tackle quality in private rented properties in the area.
  • The contribution of the Dundee Fairness Leadership Panel (FLP) continues to grow. As well as arranging and hosting the annual Dundee Fairness Conference in November 2023, in the last year the Panel has influenced policies and services relating to employability, public debt and customer services. In 2024/25, members will focus on housing, mental health & Isolation, and support given to third sector staff and volunteers.
  • Feedback on the 2022/23 annual report was also received from the Improvement Service and the Dundee Fairness Leadership Panel. Most of their recommendations have been incorporated and commitments made to those that remain outstanding. An easy read ‘plan on a page’ version of the 2022/23 report was co-produced by officers and members of the panel. This was launched to a very positive response at the Fairness Conference in November 2023 and will be repeated in collaboration with FLP members following committee approval.

Committee convener Councillor John Alexander said: “The voices of communities who are experiencing the worst of the impact continue to be listened to, including those of our experts by experience, Dundee Fighting for Fairness, on developing responses to inequalities.

“Our Fairness Leadership Panel is a key mechanism for ensuring that the Partnership delivers on our fairness commitment for Dundee citizens.”

Council fairness spokesperson Councillor Siobhan Tolland added: "Statistics concerning child poverty in Dundee are stark, that is why we committed to doing as much as we can to turn this around. We owe the children of this city a brighter future.

“I am heartened by the strong partnerships that exist between Dundee organisations and agencies across the public, private and third sectors and the ongoing desire to work together to transform life for people in the city.”

The City Governance Committee meets on Monday June 24.

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