Third of Glasgow Children In Poverty
15 October 2014, 08:05
Scotland's largest city has the highest rate of child poverty, with the problem affecting a third of all youngsters in the Glasgow area, according to campaigners.
There are also a further five local authority areas where more than a quarter of all children are growing up in families that are struggling to get by, the Campaign to End Child Poverty said.
In Dundee, 28% of youngsters are affected, as well as 27% of children in North Ayrshire and 26% in Clackmannanshire, East Ayrshire and Inverclyde.
A new map breaking down child poverty across Scotland also showed a further two areas - West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire - where one in four youngsters (25%) are suffering.
Across Scotland some 220,000 children are living in poverty - a fifth of all youngsters - with campaigners fearful this total could rise.
The Campaign to End Child Poverty stressed the issue impacts on rural areas as well as cities, with almost one in five children (19%) in both the Western Isles and Argyll and Bute affected.
It is demanding action from politicians at local councils, as well as Westminster and Holyrood, with campaigners urging the UK Government to rethink its tax and benefit policies, claiming these could leave as many as 100,000 more children in poverty by 2020.
They also want local and national housing policies to focus on keeping rent bills down in both the social housing sector and the private rental market.
Neil Mathers, a spokesman for the Campaign to End Child Poverty, said: "These figures reveal just how widely and deeply child poverty reaches into our communities. It's important we look behind these figures at what is driving this level of poverty in our country.
"Politicians of all parties, at Westminster and Holyrood, need to act to tackle the root causes of poverty, including low pay and soaring housing and childcare costs.
"There is nothing inevitable about this poverty. We must build on the good work that is happening in Scotland to support families.''
He added that the figures served to "reinforce the urgent need for more action'', and said: ``We know there is ambition in Scotland to do more. We now need to act so that all our children have a fair start. We can and must do better for our children.''
According to the data, the child poverty rate is lowest in the Shetland Isles, where one in 10 youngsters are affected. East Dunbartonshire has the lowest rate on mainland Scotland at 13%.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "It is totally unacceptable that there are children living in poverty in a country as wealthy as Scotland.
"We know that the UK Government's benefit reforms are unfairly impacting on some of the most vulnerable members of our society and that is why we are investing £81 million in the next financial year to help mitigate the effects of these changes.
"In the Scottish Government's submission to the Smith Commission, we set out the need for Scotland to have full responsibility over welfare and employment powers. Only full powers over welfare, employment and social policy will help us to tackle child poverty and allow Scotland to become a fairer country.''
SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn described child poverty levels as an "unacceptable and unsustainable state of affairs, only worsening as Westminster's austerity agenda continues to hit.''
The member for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth said: "For too long poverty has been accepted as an inevitability by Westminster - while Tory and Labour politicians choose to spend tens of billions of pounds on nuclear weapons while cutting the services ordinary people rely on and attacking the welfare state.
"The fact that Tory conference cheered as George Osborne announced his latest round of cuts which will hit working families, is a chilling reminder of the attitude of the Westminster parties to social justice - the race to the right between Labour and the Tories amounts to nothing less than a shameless and sustained attack on the poor.''