Child poverty map shows shocking levels of hardship across Scotland

October 15, 2014

New figures also reveal big variations across local authorities

The Campaign to End Child Poverty has today published figures that provide a child poverty map of Scotland. The new statistics, released during Challenge Poverty Week in Scotland show levels of child poverty at local authority and ward level for MP’s constituencies.

According to the new figures, one in three children in Glasgow live in poverty, while more than a quarter of children in five other local authorities are also growing up in poverty: Clackmannanshire (26%), Dundee (28%), East Ayrshire (26%), Inverclyde (26%) and North Ayrshire (27%).

A further two authorities, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire, have levels of 25% each. Poverty levels are high in rural communities too with nearly one in five children in the Western Isles and Argyll and Bute affected. Even in the local authority with the lowest level of child poverty, Shetland, the figure is one in 10 children.

This is the first time local child poverty has been mapped after taking housing costs into account. These new figures look at the extent of child poverty based on disposable income after meeting housing costs – an essential family expenditure – which shows the real, hidden extent of the number of families struggling to make ends meet.

In Scotland 220,000 children are living in poverty, one in five of the child population, and this could soon rise.

The Campaign to End Child Poverty is calling on the UK government to rethink tax and benefit policies that are set to drive up to 100,000 more children in Scotland into poverty.¹ The child poverty campaigners are also urging Scottish and local government to ratchet-up delivery of the Child Poverty Strategy.

With the new statistics also highlighting the extent to which housing costs push families into poverty, they are calling for local and national housing policy to focus on keeping rents down in both the private and social sector.

Neil Mathers, a spokesperson for the Campaign to End Child Poverty, said: “These figures reveal just how widely and deeply child poverty reaches into our communities. It’s important we look behind these figures at what is driving this level of poverty in our country.

“Politicians of all parties, at Westminster and Holyrood, need to act to tackle the root causes of poverty, including low pay and soaring housing and childcare costs.

“There is nothing inevitable about this poverty. We must build on the good work that is happening in Scotland to support families.

“These figures, released during Challenge Poverty Week and just days after the STV Appeal raised more than £2m to tackle child poverty in Scotland, reinforce the urgent need for more action.

“We know there is ambition in Scotland to do more. We now need to act so that all our children have a fair start. We can and must do better for our children.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For more information or interviews please contact Lindsay Clydesdale, Scotland media lead for the Campaign to End Child Poverty, on 07764 560 940 or l.clydesdale@savethechildren.org.uk

¹ Source: Institute for Fiscal Studies project that between 50,000 and 100,000 more Scottish children will be living in poverty by 2020 largely as a result of UK government changes to welfare. (March 2014)

  • The Campaign to End Child Poverty (www.endchildpoverty.org.uk) is made up of more than 150 organisations from civic society including children’s charities, child welfare organisations, social justice groups, faith groups, trade unions and others, united in our vision of a UK free of child poverty.
  • Challenge Poverty Week will bring together organisations across Scotland to highlight what is being done to tackle poverty and what else needs to happen. For a full list of activities please visit: http://povertyalliance.org/challenge_poverty
  • Modelling by the Institute for Fiscal Studies www.ifs.org.uk/bns/bn144.pdf (p27 table B.2 Column 1) forecasts the proportion of children living in relative child poverty across Scotland after housing costs (AHC) is forecast to increase from 19.6% in 2011/12 to 26.2% in 2020 – up to 100,000 additional children pushed into poverty by 2020.
  • The estimates were compiled for the Campaign to End Child Poverty by Donald Hirsch and Laura Valadez, Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP), Loughborough University, using a methodology introduced for this year’s figures to better reflect both out of work and in work child poverty levels. The estimates are based on official benefit and HMRC tax credit data and have been adjusted to reflect unemployment rates and the differing risks of child poverty for in and out of work families. A more detailed explanation is contained in the report, available on request.
  • Ward level data sheets for Scottish regions can be provided on request during the embargo period. The local data has been produced to correspond as closely as possible to the official definition of poverty used by the government in its regional and national data. However, direct comparisons between the two data sets should not be made (a full explanation of the methodology can be found in the report, available on request).