New figures revealed on 15 February show that nearly all – 27 out of 32 – local authorities in Scotland have council wards where over 20% of their children live in poverty.
At the same time, projections by both Government and the Institute for Fiscal Studies expect the number of children growing up in poverty to significantly worsen amidst UK benefit and welfare cuts.
The Campaign to End Child Poverty, made up of a coalition of anti-poverty and children’s charities has published up to date figures showing rates of child poverty across every local authority, constituency and ward.
The figures, believed to be the most up-to-date local data on child poverty, from mid-2012, show that there are unacceptably high levels of child poverty in every part of Scotland. However, campaigners are stressing that action by local and national Government in Scotland can make a huge difference in minimising family hardship.
John Dickie, speaking on behalf of Scottish members of the Campaign to End Child Poverty, said:
“These latest figures show low-income families both in and out of work have to some extent been protected through recession by benefits and tax credit support. But the hidden picture is far more sinister as the current ripping away of that support is forecast to drive tens of thousands of children into poverty across Scotland in the coming years.
These projections are a sad indictment for our next generation. Rising child poverty means more children growing up in cold or damp homes, more children missing out at school and more children seeing their health undermined.
The huge disparities that exist across the country have become more entrenched and now risk becoming an enduring reality. In the face of this challenge it is vital that Scottish Government and local authorities focus resources on delivering the Scottish Child Poverty strategy. They must build on the welcome investment they have made in the Scottish Welfare Fund and replacement of council tax benefit and ensure low income families are prioritised for support in every budget decision they make
We urge collaborative working to ensure that children in Scotland don’t have their childhoods blighted by growing up poor”.
Recent forecasts indicate that at least 65,000 more children in Scotland will be living below the breadline by the end of the decade – a far cry from promises made in 1999 to end child poverty by 2020.