Call for action as official figures reveal 1 in 5 children in Scotland still in poverty

June 28, 2016

Campaigners step up call for action as official figures reveal over one in five children in Scotland still living in poverty

  • Increasing proportion of poor children living in working families
  • ‘UK government must rethink cuts to family benefits and new universal credit’
  • ‘Scottish Government must use new powers to top up child benefit’

Responding to the publication today of annual child poverty figures (see note 1) John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland said;

“Behind these statistics are tens of thousands of children across Scotland whose life chances, education, health and well-being are being undermined because their families have to survive on poverty incomes. It’s good that lower housing costs in Scotland continue to protect many families from increases in child poverty and it’s vital that housing costs continue to be pushed down, but overall these figures are in line with independent projections (note 2) that forecast 50% increases in child poverty by the end of the decade.”

The latest statistics published by Scottish Government today show:

  • 220 000 children (22%) are living in poverty in Scotland (measured ‘after housing costs’)
  • 66% of those children are living in working families– up from 56 % in 2013/14
  • Across the UK child poverty rose by 200 000 (note 3)

Urging action at every level of government Mr Dickie continued:

“In order to reverse current trends it is vital that the UK government rethinks cuts to family benefits and the new universal credit. Two thirds of poor children are in working families, and it is these families who will be hit by UK cuts to Universal Credit and tax credits announced in last year’s Summer Budget. But the Scottish Government must also use its new social security powers to top up family benefits – a £5 top up to child benefit would in itself reduce child poverty in Scotland by 14% - that’s 30 000 fewer children than would otherwise be living in poverty.”

CPAG in Scotland has joined Barnardos, One Parent Families Scotland, Poverty Alliance, Children in Scotland and other members of the End Child Poverty coalition in Scotland to call for Scottish Ministers to introduce a Scottish Child Poverty Act to set targets and ensure all levels of government in Scotland are required to act to prevent children experiencing poverty.

Mr Dickie said:

“We urge Scottish Ministers to now fill the legal gap left by the UK government’s abandonment of any strategic duty to end child poverty and put in place its own targets and measures to end the poverty that scars the lives of so many of our children.”

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

(1) Scottish Government published Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland 2014/15 today at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Social-Welfare/IncomePovert... .

(2) Living Standard, Poverty and Inequality in the UK, IFS, 2016 http://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/comms/R114.pdf

(3) For UK figures also published today see https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/households-below-average-income...