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More than one in five Scottish children living below the poverty line

ByNoa Hoffman

Nov 15, 2016

Research by the Save the Children has uncovered that more than one in five Scottish children are growing up in poverty.

The figures were based on various indicators and determined that 20 per cent of children are growing up in ‘relative poverty’, where household income is 60 per cent less than the national average.

The report also found that one in nine children are growing up in ‘severe poverty’, where a family of four lives on less than £275 per week.

A recent survey by the End Child Poverty coalition found that 20.3 per cent of children in East Lothian are affected by low incomes.

Meanwhile, Glasgow has the highest levels of poverty in Scotland with 34.1 per cent of children in the area affected. Shetland was found to have the lowest poverty rates with 10.6 per cent of children living below the poverty line.

The End Child Poverty study also warned that above 500,000 more people could be living in poverty by the year 2020.

Peter Kelly, director of Scottish movement Poverty Alliance, told the BBC: “Living on a low income not only affects a child’s well-being now, but can have a negative impact in the future. This is an unnecessary situation and one that requires urgent attention.”

In response to the recent evidence highlighting the severity of local child poverty, the Scottish Government announced a Child Poverty Bill in August.

The act, which seeks to protect family income by law, will be formally introduced into Parliament early next year.

The bill also aims to reduce inequality to less than 10 per cent of children living in relative poverty and to less than five per cent in absolute poverty. It is expected that it will take 14 years to achieve this target.

Angela Constance, SNP Equalities Minister, spoke at the launch of the Bill in August, stating: “We are serious about our ambition to eradicate child poverty and I want to work with partners across Scotland to make that ambition a reality.

“We are showing that we see child poverty and low income families as a priority,” she added.

In response to the research, deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party, Alex Rowley, told the BBC: “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,” he continued.

Rowley also asserted that Scotland’s Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has a responsibility “to bring to an end to these unfair, unjust and unworkable reforms of welfare and instead invest in Scotland’s greatest asset, our people”.

He also mentioned the role and responsibility of the SNP in tackling the issue: “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,” he added.


Image: byronv2

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