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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Children across Scotland share widespread financial concerns

 

A poll for Action for Children found "adult issues" are now playing on the minds of Scots kids.

More than a quarter of children in Scotland worry about their family having enough money to live comfortably, a new report has warned, as the cost of living crisis deepens. 

Research by charity Action for Children warns of the challenges facing children today, with vast numbers of children concerned about “adult issues” including family finances. 

The report found that most parents and grandparents polled in Scotland fear childhood is getting worse – and one in four children agreed.

Action for Children and YouGov polled three UK generations – quantitative surveys of over 5,000* children and adults - to explore the biggest issues affecting childhood post-pandemic in a revisit of its landmark study from 2019.  

Amongst the children surveyed in Scotland, 26 per cent said they worry about their family having enough money to live comfortably while 47 per cent said they worry about people suffering because they don’t have enough money. 

Experts warn the UK could be facing the biggest income squeeze in nearly fifty years with rising fuel and food prices, with the growing conflict in Ukraine likely to push up living costs even further.

Paul Carberry, national director of Action for Children in Scotland, said: “It is the fundamental responsibility of any government to make sure every generation of children has a better childhood and a brighter future than the last.

“The Scottish Government state they want Scotland to be the best place in the world to grow up however, our survey of children, parents, and grandparents, found that many families do not see this reflected in their own lives. For this aspiration to become a reality, we need to listen to and act accordingly to what these children, parents, and grandparents are telling us.

“Child poverty remains a stubborn stain on the fabric of Scottish life with one in four children in Scotland growing up in poverty. 

“The Scottish Government must do more to address this with more support for families, many of whom were already on the brink of poverty before the cos of living crisis intensified. The Scottish Government has recently made welcome steps in the right direction, with their newly published Tackling Child Poverty delivery plan, but giant leaps are needed to truly achieve Scotland’s child poverty targets.”

Top issues children identified as preventing them from fulfilling their potential are the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, too much pressure from school and poor mental health. 

Two years on from the first national lockdown, mental health is now a much bigger worry for children, now ranking in the top five things they worried about with 39 per cent citing their mental health as something they were concerned about.

Covering up a worry is common for children with nearly six in ten of those surveyed admitting to hiding worries from their parents. 

Family support would help build stronger relationships between children and parents where there are issues, but almost three quarters of Scottish parents surveyed felt the Government was investing too little into services that support childhoods.

Encouragingly though, children do feel more optimistic about their own prospects, with 34 per cent of those surveyed in Scotland believing they have a brighter future than their parents.

The research comes after the Scottish Government outlined its plans to cut child poverty in Scotland last week. 

Mr Carberry added: “Through our work with children and young people, we know we are all shaped by our earliest relationships and experiences which is why early intervention is paramount. The worries children are exhibiting around their mental health and coping financially will be felt long into children’s futures unless we act now.

“Our mental health services for young people have been shown to be incredibly impactful but long waiting lists mean many are not receiving the support they need when they need it. 

“Family support is another service which could help tackle the mental health crisis among our young people. It builds on the strengths of families, promotes parenting skills and increases the parents’ ability to nurture successfully, while developing the resilience of children and young people. 

“Both of these areas require more investment and development if the Scottish Government is ever to meet its ambition.

“The likely fall-out of the Ukraine conflict with even higher energy bills and inflation rates not seen for a generation, is a double blow for low-income families, already locked in a crippling cost of living crisis. The pandemic also continues to hang heavy, and its impact will be felt long into children’s futures.”

 

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