23 January 2015

Scottish Youth Parliament Press Office 

Youth Parliament Launch Campaign to Tackle Child and Youth Poverty

On Friday 23rd January 2015, the Scottish Youth Parliament launched its national campaign to help combat child and youth poverty. The campaign, POVERTY: See It Change It, was launched by Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament (MSYPs) at the Fuse Youth Café in Glasgow.

The campaign aims to: raise awareness among young people and wider society about child and youth poverty; combat popular negative stigmas and speak about the reality of poverty in Scotland; and, challenge elected leaders and key stakeholders to work together to end child poverty by 2020.

More than one in five of Scotland’s children are considered to be living in poverty. This is much higher than in many other European countries.[1]

In 1999, the UK Government made the commitment to tackle child poverty in the nation by 2020. The UK Child Poverty Act 2010 made this commitment into law. With only 5 years to go until 2020, the Scottish Youth Parliament hopes its campaign will send the message that now is the time to seriously act.

Speaking about the launch of the campaign, Louise Cameron MSYP, Chair of the Scottish Youth Parliament, said:

“It is unacceptable that one in five of our children and young people in Scotland live in poverty. Many young people in Scotland are simply robbed of their childhood. They are robbed of the opportunity to use their passion and talents to create a better and more prosperous future for themselves.”

“I believe it is time that we recognise the reality of poverty in Scotland, and make it our priority to work together to challenge the common misconceptions and negative stigmas it entails.

“This issue transcends party politics and goes to the very heart of who we are, and who we want to be as a nation. By working together, we can strive to ensure elected leaders uphold the commitment to tackle child poverty in Scotland and the UK by the year 2020. With five years to go, now is the time to seriously act.”

Nairn McDonald MSYP put forward proposals for the campaign to the SYP Membership in October 2014. Speaking about the aims of the campaign, Nairn said:

“Our MSYPs voted to campaign on this issue because that is what the young people in their areas asked us to do. The young people of Scotland have told us that this is a major issue for them, and there must be change. As the democratically elected voice of Scotland’s young people, we have a responsibility to stand up and be the drivers of that change.

“For me, I grew up surrounded by poverty, and I have seen the devastating impact it can have on a young person’s future and their quality of life. I am delighted that POVERTY: See It Change It is the SYP’s campaign for 2015, and I hope that MSYPs can inspire young people all over Scotland to get involved and champion its aims.”

[1] Barnardo’s UK. What Causes Child Poverty? child_poverty/child_poverty_what_is_poverty/what_causes_child_poverty.htm