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Revealed: Scotland’s poverty pockets where a third of children live below the breadline

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​Charity coalition produces map showing the spread of child poverty across Scotland

The shocking extent of child poverty afflicting Scotland has been revealed.

Around 220,000 children live in deprivation across the country, a figure which rises to three and a half million across the UK.

A new map has been produced detailing the geographical spread and variation of poverty (see table below).

It shows that one in three children growing up in Glasgow (34%) is living in poverty as are 30% of children living in North Ayrshire 30%.

The places with the most families with enough money to live a comfortable life are Shetland, where only one in 10 children is living in poverty, and Aberdeenshire, where just 13% of youngsters are living in poor families.

The map was produced by the charity coalition End Child Poverty.

Poverty in Scotland continues to harm the lives of children across Scotland

Members of the group, which includes Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, Barnardo’s Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS), Children 1st and the Poverty Alliance are calling for urgent action to be taken at UK, Scottish and local government level.

The coalition is calling on the Chancellor of the Exchequor to use the upcoming Autumn Statement to end the freeze on children’s benefits, and reverse the sharp cuts being introduced to in-work benefits under Universal Credit.

They warn that the current benefits freeze means that as prices rise, low income families find it increasingly hard to pay for basic essentials at the same time as cuts to Universal Credit are pushing more working families below the poverty line.

In Scotland the campaign group is calling on Holyrood and local government to make sure the proposed child poverty (Scotland) bill addresses poverty at local level.

It believes the bill, which will enshrine the Scottish Government’s ambition to eradicate child poverty by 2030, should explicitly set out and support the role of local government and its community planning partners in tackling child poverty.

John Dickie, director of CPAG 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 so as 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.”

Martin Crewe, director of Barnardo’s Scotland said: “The latest map of child poverty across Scotland reflects the experience of our services working with families on low income day in day out. There is much good work taking place to support these children and families but given their financial situation changes in benefits that reduce income have a damaging effect on parents and children.”

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said: “Poverty in Scotland continues to harm the lives of children across Scotland, as this new map shows. Living on a low income not only affects their well-being now, but can have a negative impact in the future. This is an unnecessary situation and one that requires urgent attention.

"The forthcoming Scottish child poverty bill should begin to focus more action on the way that we support people at the local level. However, these figures also serve to highlight the damaging impact that cuts to social security benefits by the UK Government have had on many Scottish families. If Theresa May wants to signal a new direction for her government, then these cuts should be reversed.”

Alison Todd, chief executive of Children 1st, said: “Many of the children and families we support are becoming increasingly caught in a complex poverty trap which includes housing costs, trying to meet the costs of enabling their children to take part in school activities and being isolated from opportunities.

“By working in genuine partnership with families experiencing poverty, local authorities can make a real difference in these and many other areas to help lift children out of poverty.”

Local authority areaRelative child poverty (%)
Aberdeen City 18.2
Aberdeenshire 13.1
Angus 20.6
Argyll and Bute 20.4
Clackmannanshire 27.3
Dumfries and Galloway 24.3
Dundee City 27.7
East Ayrshire 28
East Dunbartonshire 14.2
East Lothian 20.3
East Renfrewshire 14.5
City of Edinburgh 22
Eilean Siar 17.6
Falkirk 22
Fife 25
Glasgow City 34.1
Highland 19.2
Inverclyde 27.9
Midlothian 22.5
Moray 17.2
North Ayrshire 30.4
North Lanarkshire 25
Orkney Islands 14.1
Perth and Kinross 18.2
Renfrewshire 23.6
Scottish Borders 21
Shetland Islands 10.6
South Ayrshire 25.7
South Lanarkshire 22
Stirling 18.8
West Dunbartonshire 26.5
West Lothian 22.8