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New analysis reveals four-year rise in child poverty

Holyrood

New analysis reveals four-year rise in child poverty

The rate of child poverty in Scotland increased by more than 10 per cent in some parts of the country in the past four years, new analysis has revealed.

The End Child Poverty coalition, with researchers at Loughborough University, published a new analysis of government data to document how child poverty rates across Britain “have swelled over the last four years” before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Data from the Department of Work and Pensions from 2014/15 to 2018/19 was analysed by the coalition, however it does not take into account rent or mortgage costs.

Overall in the UK the child poverty rate increased by 2.8 per cent between 2014/15 and 2018/19, from 15.6 per cent to 18.4 per cent, the report revealed.

Glasgow Central saw the largest rise in child poverty in Scotland over that period – increasing by 11.6 per cent. Large increases were also seen in Aberdeen North, with a 6.4 per cent rise in child poverty; Paisley and Renfrewshire South, a 6.1 per cent rise; and Glasgow North East with a 6.5 per cent increase.

Child poverty among working families increased by 9.9 per cent in Midlothian, 8.3 per cent in Glasgow North, 8 per cent in East Renfrewshire and 7.5 per cent in Rutherglen and Hamilton West.

Conversely, the percentage of child poverty among working families reduced in some places, including a drop of 1.5 per cent in Aberdeen North, 1.2 per cent in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale and 1.1 per cent in Gordon.

The report found children who grow up in deprived parts of Scotland were six times more likely to grow up in poverty than those in less deprived areas.

The coalition – comprising of 70 UK charities – fears the impact of the current pandemic will “only have deepened child poverty and drawn more families below the poverty line”, and the body is urging both UK and Scottish governments to increase the amount of money going to families.

It is calling for the UK Government to commit to an “ambitious UK-wide strategy to end child poverty” in the aftermath of COVID-19, and for the Scottish Government to “redouble efforts” to meet Scotland’s statutorily child poverty targets.

Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland director John Dickie said: “We may all be in this coronavirus storm together, but we really aren’t all in the same boat.

“This official data shows the extent to which too many children have been cut adrift over the past four years and are already experiencing unacceptable hardship as a result of cuts and freezes to UK benefits.

“That’s why we are urging the Chancellor to strengthen the social security system by immediately increasing household income for those least well-off.

“Here in Scotland the Holyrood government must act to use all the powers at its disposal to make emergency financial payments to low income families. Scotland’s much-welcomed child poverty strategy must be put at the heart of decision making on every aspect of the country’s recovery and renewal from the pandemic.”

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