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Economy ‘must be redesigned’ with focus on wellbeing and environmental sustainability

17 November 2022

Children in Scotland has joined more than 100 other organisations calling for Scotland to make a wellbeing economy a reality.

An open letter, issued yesterday (16 November) to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, once again calls for the Scottish Government to put wellbeing and environmental sustainability at the heart of all economic decisions.

Signatories welcome measures already put in place, such as the first Wellbeing Economy monitor, but stress progress is not happening fast enough.

The letter urges Nicola Sturgeon to transform Scotland’s National Performance Framework into a Wellbeing Framework and strengthen its power and reach.

Other calls include using devolved tax powers for a better distribution of wealth; investment in social security; universal basic services and reshaping the business landscape to prioritise enterprises that enhance collective wellbeing.

Amy Woodhouse, Children in Scotland’s Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, said:  

“Scotland is still fighting what can often feel like an impossible battle when it comes to poverty and inequality. We know turning the tide on these will make a real terms improvement to people’s lives and collective wellbeing – but we cannot make this happen until we create conditions that provide the basis for change.

“Last year, in collaboration with Carnegie UK Trust, Cattanach and lead author Dr Katherine Trebeck we published our Being Bold report, outlining why and how to build budgets for collective wellbeing. In it we called for an economy that is outcomes-oriented, rights-based, preventative and participatory.

“Our 2021-26 Manifesto also places wellbeing at the heart of its ambitions for the economy, calling for a comprehensive Wellbeing Budget and an annual Scottish budget that is designed and implemented with the goal of improving the wellbeing of all.

“Last week at our annual conference, a panel of experts including Dr Lukas Bunse, policy and engagement lead for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance in Scotland, Juliet Harris, director of Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights), Jennifer Wallace, Director (Policy and Engagement), Carnegie UK Trust, and Dr Marsha Scott, Chief Executive of Scottish Women's Aid again highlighted the importance of the Scottish Government taking a wellbeing approach to budgeting.

"They stressed how urgent this was, particularly in the context of children’s rights and our current cost-of-living crisis.”

“The commitment of the organisations who have been involved in our work so far, and our fellow signatories to the letter, demonstrate an appetite for change and a commitment from across sectors to move our economy forward so that it can better serve the society we want to create.”

The letter, co-ordinated by the Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland, was submitted ahead of the Wealth of Nations 2.0 Conference which takes place on 22 November in Glasgow. The event will bring together fellow senior representatives of the Wellbeing Economy Governments partnership, of which Scotland is a founding member.

Click here to read the letter in full

Click here for more on our Being Bold: Building Budgets for Children’s Wellbeing report, published in March 2021

Click here to view the Manifesto 2021-26

Click here to read a social media summary of day one of our annual conference

An open letter to the First Minister

Calls for the economy to be redesigned, signed by more than 100 organisations

Click here to access

Being Bold

A major report calling for the Scottish Government to make radical changes to budgeting

Click here to find out more

Manifesto 2021-26

Our calls to improve the lives of children, young people and familie

Click here to view

Annual conference 2022: Day 1

Explore the highlights from day one of our annual conference

Click here to access
A person with long blonde hair holding a child. They are facing away from the camera and towards a blue sky.

News: Cost-of-living crisis is disproportionately affecting women, reveals new report

Posted 16 November, 2022 by Nina Joynson

New research has found women in Scotland face increasing financial difficulties, with low-income jobs and care responsibilities responsible for increased economic concerns.

A new report from the Poverty Alliance and the Scottish Women's Budget group, “It’s hard work being poor” – Women’s Experiences of the Cost-of-Living Crisis in Scotland, has found that women are disproportionately impacted by the cost-of-living crisis. Those particularly affected include women in low-paid work, asylum-seeking women, women with care responsibilities and lone parents.

Of the women involved in the research, from a range of backgrounds, many told researchers they were worried about their winter energy bills, while parents and carers raised concern over the affordability of essential household items such as baby wipes and toilet roll.

Links between women’s and child poverty

Almost all participants in the research spoke about the impact and additional spending involved in care for children and extended family.

Highlighting recent figures from Carers UK, the report estimates the economic value of women’s unpaid care to be approximately £77 billion per year, with women most likely to be primary caregivers for children, and 92% of lone parent families headed by women.

Poverty rates are highest among lone parent families, and lone mothers are more likely to struggle to cover the costs of household items, childcare and bills.

Furthermore, the rising costs of food, transport and household goods have affected those with dependents, and women in particular are more likely to reduce spending on their own meals clothing and heating in order to provide for children.

Making changes

The report makes several recommendations, including that the UK and Scottish Government work to ensure adequate incomes for all, and increasing financial support for asylum seekers, people with no course to public funds, and women in low-paid work or with caring responsibilities.

It also calls on the Scottish Government to give greater recognition to unpaid care work and women’s role as mothers in Scottish policy, and to work towards an education and childcare entitlement for all children in Scotland.

Sara Cowan, co-ordinator at SWBG, said:

“Women are more likely to be poor, have lower levels of savings and wealth, and are less able to find suitable work or increase their hours if they’re in work often due to caring responsibilities that fall disproportionately on women.

“The women in this research talked about the impossible decisions they had to make to prioritise feeding their children, and whether or not to turn the heating on. Or not being able to buy things like baby wipes, incontinence pads, or toilet roll.

“The Scottish and UK Governments can help by increasing and extending the emergency support available to people, and working to put justice and compassion at the heart of social security and our public services.”

Click here to read the full report

Funding, rights, travel and trade top concerns for young people in Scotland’s post-Brexit relationship with Europe

25 November 2020

A group of children and young people have issued a series of calls about Scotland and the UK’s future relationship with Europe as part of a landmark participation project.

The Children and Young People’s Panel on Europe today publishes its report Young Brexit Voices: It’s Our Future Too, which gathers evidence and recommendations from a year of work looking at what impact leaving the EU might mean for them.

The key calls made by the Panel, which is supported by Children in Scotland and Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights) include:

EU Funding

  • Youth services should retain the same level of funding as they currently do from the EU through replacement support
  • Current spending levels on health and science research must continue or increase post-Brexit, with funding assured for research and infrastructure.


  • Children’s rights to education and health, as set out in the UNCRC, must be met and strengthened after the UK leaves the EU. Information should be provided to support children and young people to learn about politics and big decisions like Brexit so they can form their own opinions, influence decisions and have their voices heard.

Opportunities to Work, Study and Travel

  • Accessible, child-friendly information is urgently required about changes in this area from 1 January 2021.

Economy, trade and jobs

  • The minimum wage should be increased to the same level for all, including 16-24 year-olds
  • High standards need to be maintained in trade, particularly in relation to quality of imported food.

The Panel, comprising 19 members aged 8-19, all of whom were too young to vote in the EU referendum, is funded by Scottish Government EU Directorate, and is making its recommendations to the Scottish Constitution and External Affairs Secretary, Michael Russell MSP.

Commenting on her experience as a member of the Panel, Beccie said:

“The Panel has allowed me to meet with key decision-makers and take young people’s views right to the top.”

Amy Woodhouse, Children in Scotland’s Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, said:

“Young people’s views have been given little attention through the Brexit process, despite it being obvious that it is our next generation who will be most affected by the post-Brexit settlement.

“The recommendations in this report demonstrate the wisdom and expertise young people can bring to the issue of Brexit and the coming change in our relationship with Europe. We’re grateful to all the Panel members for their participation, commitment, and the fantastic quality of their insight.”

Juliet Harris, director of Together, said:

“Children and young people have strong opinions about the kind of Scotland they want to grow up in, and yet they often struggle to get their views heard.

“The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is clear that children have the right to have their views taken into account in all decisions that affect them.  We look forward to Scottish Government and all those involved in the Brexit negotiations listening to and acting upon the Panel’s calls.”

Responding to the report’s publication, Constitution and External Affairs Secretary Michael Russell said:

“I would like to thank the members of the Children and Young People’s Panel on Europe for their dedicated work - much of it undertaken in the very difficult circumstances of the Covid pandemic - to investigate, and articulate, the views of young people from all over Scotland on the challenges posed by Brexit.

“They have identified the issues of rights, funding, the ability to travel, study and work overseas, the economy and jobs as areas where young people have particular concerns.

“As the report correctly concludes, we are all going to be living with the consequences of Brexit for years to come.

“So the Scottish Government will study the report carefully, and we will seek further opportunities to listen to the views of young people on these critically important questions.”

The report is the culmination of a year’s work by the Panel, including correspondence and meetings with key decision-makers across civil society, development of resources, and a social media campaign.

The first phase of the Panel’s work took place from July to December 2018.

Click here to download Young Brexit Voices: It’s Our Future Too

The Panel’s first report, Listen to Us, was published in February 2019. Click here to read the report.

Media contact:
Chris Small,

Young Brexit Voices: It's Our Future Too

The Panel's new report features key calls on our future relationship with Europe

Click here to read the report

Voices and views of Panel members

The Panel has produced a short film about their work and recommendations

Click to watch the film

About the Panel's aims and activities

Young people's views on EU withdrawal are being amplified through the Panel's work

Click to find out more

"Listen to Us"

The Panel's phase one project report, Listen To Us, was published in February 2019

Click to read the report

The Scottish Alliance for Children's Rights

Our project partners Together work to improve understanding of the UNCRC

Click to find out more

Our project work

The Panel on Europe is just one of our participation projects

Click to find out more

Manifesto launches with calls for wellbeing to be at heart of Scottish budget and children protected from air pollution

13 November 2020

Children in Scotland today launches its Manifesto for the 2021-26 Scottish Parliament, backed by national and local organisations from across the children’s sector.

The Manifesto outlines key changes in policy and legislation the charity believes the next Scottish Government must make to improve outcomes for children and young people living in Scotland, and their families.

Click here to download a copy of the Manifesto

It contains 10 themes and 33 calls, with demands of political parties including:

Drawing on the experience in Finland to introduce a ‘hobby premium’ to ensure that all children and young people in Scotland have free access to a hobby or activity of their choice within or around the school day.

Rights and democracy
Supporting Citizens Assemblies to extend their scope to include the voice and perspectives of under-16s.

Economic planning
Producing a comprehensive Wellbeing Budget by 2022 to ensure that the annual Scottish budget is designed and implemented with the goal of improving the wellbeing of all citizens in Scotland, including children, young people and families.

Improving air quality in locations where children live, learn and play: a school air quality monitoring and education scheme should be introduced to measure air quality, educate children and families about this issue, and reduce children’s exposure to harmful pollutants.

Children in Scotland’s Chief Executive Jackie Brock said:

“Our Manifesto is being launched at the end of a punishing year for so many children and families, but we feel there’s a shared recognition that this is also a time for a radical change in direction for policymaking and legislation.

“We now need a deeper and more wholehearted restructuring of society, based on redistributing power to children, young people and families who’ve never had it before. Taken together the calls in this Manifesto make that case.”

Amy Woodhouse, the charity’s Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, said:

“This Manifesto builds on three examples of hugely significant policy change in Scotland over the past year – the recommendations of the Independent Care Review, the introduction of the Equal Protection Act, and the promise of full incorporation of the UNCRC.

“These are all powerful signs of the effectiveness of collective campaigning to make change for children, and we’ll be taking forward our 2021-26 Manifesto in that spirit.

“In the run-up to the election as we use this Manifesto to influence parties’ policy platforms, we will welcome the support and solidarity of other organisations who may wish to endorse our calls.”

Organisations who have already endorsed the Manifesto in full include Save the Children, Children 1st, YouthLink Scotland, Together (Scottish Alliance for Children’s Rights), PEEK (Possibilities for Each and Every Kid), Includem, Play Scotland, Starcatchers, the Health and Social Care Alliance and the Yard.

Organisations that have signed up to specific themes include the Children’s Parliament (Theme 1), Friends of the Earth Scotland (Theme 9), Place2Be (Themes 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 and 10) and the Royal Caledonian Education Trust (Themes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10).

The Manifesto was shared yesterday with Children in Scotland’s members, and attendees at the charity’s online annual conference.

It has been developed over the past 18 months with input from Children in Scotland’s members, its children and young people’s advisory group, and its staff and Board.

Media contacts

Chris Small:

Catherine Bromley:

Photography from the Manifesto is available to publish on request. Please contact Chris Small or Catherine Bromley.

2021-26 Manifesto: PDF version

Download a PDF booklet of the Manifesto to read our themes and calls

Click to download the PDF

2021-26 Manifesto: Page Suite version

Read our themes and calls on the Page Suite digital platform with 'flickable' pages

Click to read on Page Suite

2021-26 Manifesto: Young People's Version

A short, child-friendly version and summary of all our themes and calls

Click to download it

Building Budgets for Children’s Wellbeing

Dr Katherine Trebeck's report informs many of our Manifesto themes

Click to download the report

Manifesto Magazine

Contributors from across the sector tell us why they're endorsing our Manifesto in this special edition

Click to read the magazine

A plan for renewal not simply recovery

Amy Woodhouse explains the approach we took to compiling the Manifesto

Click to read Amy's blog

Changing our World

Our young people's advisory group have been key to shaping the Manifesto

Click to find out more

UK Government Manifesto

In December 2019 we launched a children's manifesto for the new UK Government

Click to find out more