One Third Of Children In Parts Of Scotland Living In Poverty, Report Reveals

8 November 2016, 06:35

More than one in three children in some parts of Scotland are growing up in poverty, according to a new map detailing the problem.

The figures reveal poverty affects young people in every part of Scotland, with 34.1% impacted in Glasgow - which has the highest levels of child poverty.

This compares to other council areas such as Shetland where one in 10 children are affected.

The report, from the End Child Poverty coalition, shows more than 3.5 million children are living in poverty across the UK, with 220,000 of them in Scotland.

Figures are broken down by local authority, parliamentary constituency and ward, and campaigners say they show a huge variation across the country.

Supporters of the End Child Poverty campaign in Scotland, which includes the Child Poverty Action Group, Barnardo's Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, Children 1st and the Poverty Alliance, have called for urgent action to be taken at UK, Scottish and local government level.

The coalition wants Chancellor Philip Hammond to use the upcoming Autumn Statement to end the freeze on child benefits and reverse cuts being introduced to in-work benefits.

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said: ''There's no doubt that many of the key drivers of child poverty are UK-wide and if the new Prime Minister is serious about supporting families then decisive action must be taken to end the freeze on children's benefits and reverse sharp cuts to in-work support under Universal Credit.

''But this new map also makes it clear that child poverty plays out in different ways at local level.''

Campaigners are calling on Holyrood and local government to ensure a proposed Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill addresses poverty at local level. They believe it should explicitly set out and support the role of local government in tackling the issue.

Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo's Scotland, said: ''The latest map of child poverty across Scotland reflects the experience of our services working with families on low income day in, day out.

''There is much good work taking place to support these children and families but given their financial situation, changes in benefits that reduce income have a damaging effect on parents and children.''

After Glasgow, the areas with the highest percentage of children in poverty in Scotland, after housing costs are removed, are North Ayrshire (30.4%), East Ayrshire (28%), Inverclyde (27.9%), Dundee (27.7%) and Clackmannanshire (27.3%).

In contrast, 10.6% of children in Shetland live in poverty, 13.1% in Aberdeenshire, and 14.1% in the Orkney islands.

Scottish Labour's deputy leader Alex Rowley said: "This research shows that one in three children in Scotland grow up in poverty in some parts of Scotland. It is clear that the Tory reforms to welfare are not working and are directly leading to more children in Scotland being in poverty.

"I am calling on Ruth Davidson and her Scottish Tory Party to do the right thing and support the calls by most of civic Scotland to bring to an end to these unfair, unjust and unworkable reforms of welfare and instead invest in Scotland's greatest asset, our people.

"But it is also time for the SNP Government in Edinburgh to drop the excuses and use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to help tackle child poverty head on.''