‘Time to deliver’ say child poverty campaigners as latest figures show one in four children still living in poverty | CPAG

‘Time to deliver’ say child poverty campaigners as latest figures show one in four children still living in poverty

Published on: 
22 March 2018

MEDIA RELEASE

for immediate release 22/03/18

‘Time to deliver’ say child poverty campaigners as latest figures show one in four children still living in poverty

  • Child poverty in Scotland up from 21% (210 000) in 2011-14 to 24% (230 000) in 2014-17
  • 66% of children in poverty living in working families
  • “Scottish Government must now set out how it will use top up powers to boost family incomes”
  • UK government “in denial” on child poverty, with 30% of children across UK living in poverty

Responding to the latest official child poverty figures published today (22nd March), John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said;

“These latest figures show that between 2014 and 2017 a shocking one in four children in Scotland were living in poverty, up from 21% in the period 2011-14. 66% of those children are living in working families and all the evidence suggests that eye-watering cuts to UK benefits for families both in and out of work are the key drivers of this upward trend.

“Behind these statistics are thousands of children going hungry, missing out on school trips, unable to enjoy the activities and educational opportunities their better off peers take for granted. Supporting those children are parents too often going without meals, juggling debt and seeing their own health suffer to protect their children from the poverty they face”.

In 2017 the Scottish Parliament unanimously passed the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act with statutory targets, including to reduce child poverty to less than 10% by 2030.

Mr. Dickie continued;

“In the face of these stark statistics it really is time for the Scottish Government to deliver on its child poverty ambitions. The imminent child poverty delivery plan must now set out how Ministers will use top up powers to boost family incomes as part of wider action to tackle child poverty. Advice from the independent Poverty and Inequality Commission, evidence from the IPPR think tank, and the calls of the Children’s Commissioner, faith leaders, children’s charities and anti-poverty groups are all clear that Scottish Ministers must now top up family benefits as part of wider action to address rising child poverty. A £5 top up to child benefit would, for example, lift up to 30 000 children out of poverty.”

Mr Dickie also highlighted the importance of action at UK level;

“Without a real change of direction by the UK government these targets will be extremely difficult to meet. The Prime Minister entered Downing Street with a pledge to protect the living standards of ordinary families. Today's official child poverty figures show her government is in denial on child poverty. If the Prime Minister is to make good on its pledge of support for struggling families, ending the punitive freeze on benefits for working and non-working families must be an absolute priority.”

ENDS

 

For more information contact John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland, jdickie@cpagscotland.org.uk , 0141 552 3656 or 07795 340 618

Notes

1. Child Poverty Action Group works on behalf of the one in four children in Scotland growing up in poverty. It doesn’t have to be like this. We use our understanding of what causes poverty and the impact it has on children’s lives to campaign for policies that will prevent and solve poverty – for good. We are leading expert providers of second tier social security advice, information and training.

2. The latest official child poverty figures for Scotland are published today at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Social-Welfare/IncomePoverty

3. UK poverty figures are also published today at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income...

4. The 2017 Child Poverty (Scotland) Act sets four legally binding income based targets for the reduction of child poverty, with a headline target to reduce relative child poverty to less than 10% by 2030 (down from 24% (230 000) in 2016/17)

5. The Poverty and Inequality Commission was set up by the Scottish Government to provides independent advice to Scottish Ministers on reducing poverty and inequality in Scotland and to scrutinise the progress that is being made. It’s advice to Ministers on the forthcoming child poverty delivery plan required by the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act can be found at https://povertyinequality.scot/publications/ 

6. The IPPR Scotland report "How much would it cost to reduce child poverty in Scotland?" is published at www.ippr.org/scotland

7. Give Me Five is a coalition of faith groups, children’s charities, anti-poverty groups and trade union groups and supported by the Children and Young People’s Commissioner, campaigning for the Scottish Government to top up child benefit by £5 per week. It believes the Scottish Government should use its powers to commit to top up child benefit by £5 a week for every child, and in doing so, not only lift 30,000 children out of poverty, but help to increase the incomes of all families across Scotland. http://www.cpag.org.uk/content/give-me-five-child-benefit-top-campaign

8. The effects of poverty are real and significant. When children grow up poor they miss out. They miss out on the things most children take for granted: warm clothes, school trips, having friends over for tea. They too often do less well at school and earn less as adults.

9. As well as damaging children and families, poverty is a costly problem. Independent research commissioned by CPAG estimates that child poverty costs the UK at least £29 billion a year in extra pressure on public services that deal with the effects of poverty and, in the longer term, wasted economic potential.