Hidden picture of Scots child poverty as figures forecast to 'significantly worsen'

February 15, 2013
New figures revealed today show that nearly all – 27 out of 32 – local authorities in Scotland have council wards where over 20% of their children live in poverty.

At the same time, projections by both Government and the Institute for Fiscal Studies expect the number of children growing up in poverty to significantly worsen amidst UK benefit and welfare cuts.

The Campaign to End Child Poverty, made up of a coalition of anti-poverty and children’s charities has published up to date figures showing rates of child poverty across every local authority, constituency and ward.

The figures, believed to be the most up-to-date local data on child poverty, from mid-2012, show that there are unacceptably high levels of child poverty in every part of Scotland. However, campaigners are stressing that action by local and national Government in Scotland can make a huge difference in minimising family hardship.

John Dickie, speaking on behalf of Scottish members of the Campaign to End Child Poverty, said:

“These latest figures show low-income families both in and out of work have to some extent been protected through recession by benefits and tax credit support. But the hidden picture is far more sinister as the current ripping away of that support is forecast to drive tens of thousands of children into poverty across Scotland in the coming years”.

Recent forecasts indicate that at least 65,000 more children in Scotland will be living below the breadline by the end of the decade – a far cry from promises made in 1999 to end child poverty by 2020.

Mr Dickie continues:

“These projections are a sad indictment for our next generation. Rising child poverty means more children growing up in cold or damp homes, more children missing out at school and more children seeing their health undermined.

The huge disparities that exist across the country have become more entrenched and now risk becoming an enduring reality. In the face of this challenge it is vital that Scottish Government and local authorities focus resources on delivering the Scottish Child Poverty strategy. They must build on the welcome investment they have made in the Scottish Welfare Fund and replacement of council tax benefit and ensure low income families are prioritised for support in every budget decision they make

We urge collaborative working to ensure that children in Scotland don’t have their childhoods blighted by growing up poor”.

ENDS

For further details or interviews, please contact Beverley Kirk, Media Officer, Save the Children on 0131 527 8244 / 07764 560 940 or b.kirk@savethechildren.org.uk or John Dickie, Head of Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland on 07795 340 618.

View the figures here. A full list of ward figures can be downloaded at the top right of this page.

Notes to Editors

1. Scottish Government estimates based on IFS and UK government forecasts suggest at least 65,000 more children will be living in poverty in Scotland by 2020; see answers to Parliamentary Questions S4F-0080

2. Scottish members of the Campaign to End Child Poverty include Action for Children Scotland, Barnardo’s Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, Children 1st, the Church of Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, Poverty Alliance and Save the Children.

3. The End Child Poverty campaign 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. For a full list of members, visit www.endchildpoverty.org.uk