Cash boost calls after new data reveals rising child poverty across Scotland

Written by Gemma Fraser on 15 May 2019 in News

In some Scottish constituencies, more than a third of children are growing up in poverty

Child - credit Stephan Hochhaus

Around one third of children are trapped in poverty in some parts of Scotland, according to new data published today.

Child poverty campaigners are calling for extra money for low-income families in Scotland after the new research revealed more than 30 per cent of children are living in poverty in some Scottish Parliament constituencies.

The figure is even higher in some Glasgow constituencies, where up to 46 per cent of children are living in poverty.

Scottish members of End Child Poverty, the UK’s leading child poverty coalition, are calling on Holyrood ministers to urgently introduce a cash boost for low-income families in Scotland.

They are also calling on the UK Government to end the freeze on working age benefits.

Researchers from Loughborough University estimated the numbers of children locked in poverty in each constituency, ward and local authority area across Britain.

In Scotland, eight local authorities have more than 25 per cent of children living in poverty.

The highest levels of poverty are in Glasgow Southside (46 per cent), Glasgow Shettleston (42 per cent) and Glasgow Kelvin (41 per cent).

The Scottish Government has committed to introducing a new income supplement for low-income families by 2022 as part of wider action to meet statutory targets to cut relative child poverty to less than 10 per cent by 2030.

At the same time, local authorities and health boards in Scotland are finalising their first statutory Local Child Poverty Action Reports.

 However, in response to today’s figures, campaigners say that children cannot wait years to receive the support needed now. 

John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, a leading member of End Child Poverty in Scotland, said: “Today’s stark figures outline the staggering levels of child poverty that many of our communities face.

“There is no question rising child poverty is driven by UK Government social security cuts but Scottish ministers must act now with the utmost urgency to introduce their promised Income Supplement. Families struggling now cannot wait years for this vital additional support.

“These aren’t just statistics. These are children going hungry, missing out on school trips, unable to enjoy the activities and opportunities their better off peers take for granted.

“These are parents going without meals, juggling debt and seeing their own health suffer to protect their children from the poverty they face. We cannot let this become the norm in our society.”

 Jackie Brock, chief executive of Children in Scotland, added: “That 500,000 more children in the UK are living in poverty today than in 2010 is a shameful indictment of a social security system which has failed children and failed families. As the cost of living rises, it is a matter of urgency for low-income families that swift and meaningful action is taken to address deepening inequalities.

“The Scottish Government’s commitment to introduce a new Family Income Supplement is welcome, but today’s figures show that too many families cannot afford to wait until 2022 to see this support. Early implementation is essential.”

Anna Feuchtwang, chair of the End Child Poverty coalition, said that in many areas growing up in poverty “is not the exception, it’s the rule” and that living in such circumstances can have “serious consequences for their life chances”.

She added: “Growing up in poverty means growing up trapped. It restricts a child’s chances of doing well at school, of living a healthy and happy life, and of finding well paid work as adults.

“We urgently need government to set a course of action that will free our children from the grip of poverty.”

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