Select Committee on Scottish Affairs First Special Report


Letter to The Rt hon Dr John Reid, MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, Scotland Office, from Jackie Baillie MSP, Minister for Social Justice, Scottish Executive


Further to the Scottish Affairs Committee's Report into Poverty in Scotland issued earlier this year, I thought you would appreciate an indication of where the Scottish Executive stands on those recommendations with a devolved dimension. I understand that you are co-ordinating the UK Government's response to the report.

The Scottish Executive welcomed the Committee's inquiry into poverty in Scotland and we were very pleased to assist the Committee with its work. Tackling poverty is a challenging agenda and one that will require dialogue and co-operation between the UK Government and the Scottish Executive, as well as our respective parliaments. As a result, we were pleased to be able to help with the inquiry, not only to demonstrate the Scottish Executive's commitment to tackling poverty, but also in the interests of highlighting the goodwill and co-operation that exists between the Scottish Executive, the Scottish Parliament and Westminster.

There has been a good deal of interest in the report in the Scottish Parliament and a number of parliamentary questions have been tabled, all asking where the Scottish Executive stood in relation to particular recommendations. I have attached these for your information at Annex B. I have also attached at Annex A short commentaries on those recommendations upon which the Scottish Executive can usefully comment.

Following Wendy Alexander's appearance before the committee in March, the Scottish Executive's development of policy tackling poverty and social exclusion in Scotland has continued. Our recently announced spending plans set out how Social Justice would sit at the heart of policies and programmes across the Scottish Executive departments, ensuring that tackling poverty and disadvantage is a priority in the design and delivery of our mainstream services.

We also published Scotland's first Social Justice Annual Report on 13 November, setting out the progress we have made on the milestones and indicators in last year's "Social Justice: A Scotland where everyone matters." This is an important document in the development of programmes and policies tackling poverty and social exclusion in Scotland. Not only does the new data set out in the report improve our understanding of the dynamics of poverty in Scotland, but the report should also prove to be a powerful tool for maintaining focus on delivering real change for our most vulnerable communities. I enclose a copy for your information.

I hope you find this helpful.

21 November 2000

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