"No room for complacency" say child poverty campaigners as over 1 in 5 children in Scotland still living in poverty

June 25, 2015
  • Falls in child poverty welcome, but material deprivation increases
  • Campaigners fear worse to come as big cuts threatened to tax credits, and say housing costs must be kept down to protect family budgets
  • Grim news across UK as government no closer to meeting child poverty targets

Responding to today’s publication of official 2013/14 child poverty statistics for Scotland and the rest of the UK, John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said:

“Any falls in headline child poverty figures are welcome but the harsh reality is that over one in five children in Scotland are still living in poverty, and levels of material deprivation appear to be rising. There can be no room for complacency, especially when on-going cuts and freezes to the uprating of family benefits look set to erode family incomes in the years to come.

The UK government must not be distracted with any pointless redefining of the problem and must rethink any further cuts to the family benefits and tax credits that protect families from poverty, whilst here in Scotland the figures show how important it is to put in place policies to keep housing costs down so that parents are left with enough money for all the other essentials needed to raise a family.

We are still facing a child poverty crisis in the years ahead and that crisis will deepen if UK Ministers go ahead with plans to cut support for children in low income families and for the low paid. You don't tackle low pay by making the low paid poorer. You don't tackle child poverty by slashing help for children in low income families and then claiming money doesn't matter.

Today’s figures show us that across the UK most parents of poor children are working and in couples. The root causes of child poverty are low pay, lack of adequate childcare, and cuts to children’s benefits and it is these that we should look to for an explanation of child poverty and not to parents who struggle daily to protect their children against its worst effects.

Instead of highlighting symptoms of poverty, such as debt, the UK government must tackle the root causes of poverty by protecting children's benefits with the same triple lock protection pensions enjoy and reversing the deep cuts to the tax credits that help the low paid. At every level of government action is needed to tackle rising rents, high childcare costs and extend the good work that's been done on free school meals and cutting the wider costs of school.”

Ends

For further comment contact:

John Dickie, Director of CPAG in Scotland, on 07795 340 618

Notes to Editors

  • Official Scottish child poverty figures published today for 2013/14 are available here.
  • Modelling (January 2014) by the Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests that up to 100 000 children will be pushed into poverty by 2020 with the proportion of children living in poverty in Scotland forecast to increase to 26.2% by 2020, after housing costs are taken into account see Appendix Table B2. Recent analysis of the costs of child poverty can be found here.
  • CPAG is the leading charity campaigning for the abolition of child poverty and for a better deal for low-income families and children. CPAG is the host organisation for the Campaign to End Child Poverty, which has over 150 member organisations and is campaigning for public and political commitment to ensure the goal of ending child poverty by 2020 is met.