More than 200,000 children are growing up in poverty in Scotland

Date: 15th November 2016
Category: Child poverty

A survey assessment for the End Child Poverty coalition has suggested that 3.5 million children are living in low income households in the UK - with 220,000 of them in Scotland.

The worst-affected local authority area in Scotland is Glasgow, where 34.1% of children are affected. The Shetland Islands (10.6%), Aberdeenshire (13.1%) and Orkney (14.1%) are the least affected.

According to the Child Poverty Action Group, which assessed benefit data, about 23% of children in Scotland live in low income households. That figure is up from 19% five years ago.

Campaigners have called on the chancellor to use the upcoming Autumn Statement to end the freeze on children's benefits, and reverse the cuts being introduced to in-work benefits under Universal Credit.

The coalition, which is made up of the Child Poverty Action Group, Barnardo's Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, Children 1st and the Poverty Alliance, also wants the Scottish government to ensure the proposed Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill addresses poverty at local level.

John Dickie, director of Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said:

"There's no doubt that many of the key drivers of child poverty are UK-wide and if the new prime minister is serious about supporting families then decisive action must be taken to end the freeze on children's benefits and reverse sharp cuts to in-work support under Universal Credit.

"But this new map also makes it clear that child poverty plays out in different ways at local level. Local authorities and their partners know their communities and are in a great position to work with local people to prevent poverty.

"Many are already doing important work to make sure local childcare, housing and employability policies are working for low-income families.

"The new Scottish child poverty legislation must now be drafted to ensure all local authorities are supported in law to take a strategic approach, and that all levels of government are pulling in the same direction - towards a Scotland free from child poverty."

The Scottish government have previously declared its intention to end child poverty by 2030.

New benefits cap

On the 7th November 2016, a cut in the benefits camp came into force, affecting the life chances of many children across the UK. The new benefit cap is likely to drive more single parents into poverty. Many will have to choose between housing and other essentials such as food and heating.