Bruce Adamson, scotland’s children And young people’s commissioner
“Poverty is the biggest issue in terms of the human rights of children at the moment, and issues around rural poverty have come through really clearly in the discussions I’ve had around Scotland.
“The key thing, for me, is that in a rich country like Scotland it’s been really quite shocking that poverty is having such a major impact on our children and young people.
“It’s a real human rights issue because it links through to your ability to access your other rights. If you’ve got a hungry tummy, you can’t go on and get a good education. You need to be in a safe warm house with good, nutritious food. That enables you to get on and get the education that you need to go on to work or further or higher education, but also just to be part of your community, to make friendships, to socialise – all the things that you need to do throughout your childhood: poverty is having a huge impact.
“As the Children’s Commissioner – set up by the Scottish Parliament and totally independent of government and local authorities – my job is to promote and safeguard the rights of everyone up to the age of 18, or up to 21 if you’ve been in care at any time.
“It’s mainly about holding to account those that have made promises that children should not experience poverty.
“There are definitely failures in the system. We need to do a lot more to look at how our social security system works, how local authorities can give extra support.
“There are broader things that need to be done to support communities, create jobs, and support things like mental health, but the really exciting thing about when you work directly with children and young people is that they have excitement and ideas and aspirations. We need to get them more involved.”