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Brexit vote set to increase child poverty campaigners warn

This news post is almost 8 years old

Coalition of groups call for Scottish Government to set ambitious but achievable targets to eradicate child poverty

A coalition of children’s and anti-poverty organisations are calling on the Scottish Government to introduce new laws to tackle child poverty in Scotland in the wake of the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

It comes as new official figures released by the Scottish Government show over one in five children are still living in poverty – with two thirds of those are living in working families.

Campaigners believe that political and economic uncertainty following last week's vote to leave the European Union could have an adverse impact on families on low incomes, making it essential to have clear targets, monitoring and reporting of child poverty.

Members of the End Child Poverty coalition, which include Poverty Alliance, Child Poverty Action Group Scotland, Barnardos Scotland, One Parent Families and Children in Scotland are urging the Scottish Government to set an “ambitious but achievable target” for the eradication of child poverty in Scotland.

We must use every means at our disposal to end the misery of poverty and inequality - Satwat Rehman

It comes as CPAG Scotland separately released a report showing that in the UK the average poor family has drifted further below the poverty line, with a weekly income now £55.60 below the poverty threshold.

Campaigners fear the scrapping of targets to eradicate child poverty by 2020 by the UK government and removing the definition of child poverty from legislation, means poverty will multiply.

There is currently no requirement on public bodies (including the Scottish Government) to produce strategies on how they will tackle child poverty or its effects as a result of scrapping these targets.

Satwat Rehman of End Child Poverty and director of One Parent Families Scotland said: “The figures released today show that child poverty remains a persistent problem for far too many children in Scotland today.

"That is why we must use every means at our disposal to end the misery of poverty and inequality.”

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance and vice-president of the European Anti-Poverty Network, added: “Last year, the Trussell Trust gave out 133,726 food parcels in Scotland, including to families with almost 44,000 children.

"In one of the richest countries in the world, this is unacceptable. It is these families that have been hit hardest by austerity, as have families on low incomes all across Europe.”

Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland said his charity’s services are reporting ever greater levels of need with increasing numbers of families with children in crisis.

And Jackie Brock, the chief executive of Children in Scotland added that establishing an achievable new poverty target would represent “Scotland’s distinctive and progressive perspective on how to tackle poverty – and ultimately help families throughout the country."