New poverty stats stark reminder of need for action, say child poverty campaigners
Child poverty campaigners responded today to new Scottish Government statistics highlighting the devastating extent to which poverty impacts on communities in every part of Scotland.
The head of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, John Dickie, said;
“These figures are a stark reminder of the need for action to tackle poverty at every level of government and in every part of Scotland. Behind the statistics are tens of thousands of families desperately trying to give their children the best start in life despite hopelessly inadequate wages and meagre benefits. As politicians focus on cutting the deficit they need to make sure that tax, pay and spending decisions give a greater share of our still huge national wealth to those in the poorest households.”
Notes for editors
For further information please contact:
John Dickie, Head of CPAG in Scotland, on 0141 552 3656 or 07795 340 61802
- The Scottish Government Income and poverty statistics team have today published “Relative poverty across Scottish local authorities”. This presents official estimates for the proportion of households in relative poverty at local authority level across Scotland. This is the first time that figures of this type have been published. The full report can be viewed at the following link: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2010/07/30132551/41
- Child Poverty Action Group’s manifesto was published in March 2009.
- CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of child poverty in the UK and for a better deal for low-income families and children.
- CPAG is one of over 150 member organisations of the Campaign to End Child Poverty, campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goals of halving child poverty by 2010 and ending child poverty by 2020 are met.
- A universal approach to free school meals in primary school is supported by a massive cross section of Scottish society, including children and families charities such as Children 1st, Save the Children, Action for Children (NCH), Children in Scotland and One Parents Families Scotland; trade unions and professional associations including the STUC, EIS, Association of Headteachers and Deputes Teachers (AHDS), RCN (Scotland), Scottish Women’s Convention, Unison; anti-poverty groups such as the Poverty Alliance; faith groups including members of the Scottish Churches Social Inclusion Network and the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland; health boards and academics
- Evaluation of the Scottish pilot free school meal programme for P1 to P3 pupils (http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/236867/0064986.pdf )shows that universal provision massively boosts take up of healthy school meals as well as relieving pressure on family budgets:
- take up of free school meals increased from 53% to 75%
- amongst children already entitled to free school meals take-up also rose (by up to 8.5 percentage points)
- “..the trial…impacted positively on the home environment of pupils,” and, “.. the simple benefit of increasing disposable income was particularly evident amongst parents with more than one child.”