Over 200,000 children growing up ‘in poverty’ in Scotland

Child poverty.
Child poverty.

A new study has shown that over 200,000 children are growing up in poverty in Scotland.

The End Child Poverty coalition survey has revealed that 3.5 million children are living in poverty in the UK - with 220,000 of them in Scotland.

Glasgow is the worst-hit local authority area in Scotland with 34.1 per cent of children affected.

In East Dunbartonshire 14.2 per cent of children are living in poverty.

Campaigners have called on the chancellor to use the upcoming Autumn Statement to end the freeze on children’s benefits, and reverse the cuts being introduced to in-work benefits under Universal Credit.

The coalition, which is made up of the Child Poverty Action Group, Barnardo’s Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, Children 1st and the Poverty Alliance, also wants the Scottish government to ensure the proposed Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill addresses poverty at local level.

John Dickie, director of Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said: “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.

“The new Scottish child poverty legislation must now be drafted to ensure all local authorities are supported in law to take a strategic approach, and that all levels of government are pulling in the same direction - towards a Scotland free from child poverty.”

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, added: “Poverty in Scotland continues to harm the lives of children.

“Living on a low income not only affects their well-being now, but can have a negative impact in the future.

“This is an unnecessary situation and one that requires urgent attention.”

A spokeswoman for the UK government’s department of work and pensions said welfare changes had “incentivised work” and were “restoring fairness to the benefits system.”

She added: “The number of people in relative low income has fallen by 300,000 since 2010 and we are going further to help the most disadvantaged with a focus on tackling the root causes - not just the symptoms - of poverty.

“Work is the best route out of poverty. The number of children living in working households is at a record high and by increasing the National Living Wage and taking millions of people out of paying any income tax, we are ensuring it always pays to be in work.”

The Scottish government’s Communities Secretary Angela Constance blamed UK government policy for the figures.

She said: “The UK government’s continued welfare cuts alongside benefit sanctions and delays are consistently pushing people into crisis situations and while we are already spending £100m a year mitigating cuts inflicted by the UK government, this money would be better spent on eradicating child poverty.”

She said the Scottish government was determined to end child poverty by 2030.