Soaring housing costs pushed a further 70,000 Scottish children into poverty
Thousands of children are being forced further into poverty because of the soaring price of housing in Scotland, new figures show.
An analysis of the latest child poverty figures by Scottish Labour show that in 2015/16, housing costs pushed an additional 70,000 children into poverty.
According to Labour the figure is 20,000 higher than when the SNP came to office in 2007.
Earlier this week Labour also revealed that working poverty in Scotland is at its highest point since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.
It said the SNP had failed to get to grips with Scotland’s housing crisis, with affordable house completions down and the government on track to break their promise to build 35,000 social homes.
Labour Housing spokesperson Pauline McNeill said Scotland has been gripped by a housing crisis for years, and now we are seeing the human cost – families trapped on waiting lists or unable to get on the housing ladder start a vicious cycle which pushes more and more children into poverty.
She added: “These figures are before further Tory welfare cuts take effect – but the nationalist government in Edinburgh must use its powers to protect Scotland’s children from poverty.
"We urgently need to build more homes, we have been consistent in calling on the government to put in place 32 local delivery partnerships to plan and deliver much needed house building.
“Since being re-elected last May the SNP has taken its eye off the ball. New houses being completed are down and ministers are too focused on campaigning for a divisive second independence referendum.
“The SNP must also look again at Labour’s proposals to increase child benefit by £240 a year by 2020, a policy that will lift tens of thousands of children out of poverty.”
Alison Watson, deputy director of Shelter Scotland, said the figures confirmed the devastating impact the lack of affordable housing is having.
“That 70,000 more people have been pushed into poverty because of their housing costs should be yet another alarm bell for the Scottish Government that much more needs to be done right now to tackle Scotland’s housing crisis.
We want to see a step change in the provision of good quality and truly affordable homes - Alison Watson
“It’s simply wrong that one in four children should find themselves in poverty and that more than 1 in 10 children have been living with persistent poverty for three or more of the last four years.
“We want to see a step change in the provision of good-quality and truly affordable homes being delivered in communities where they are needed across Scotland. We also need to protect investment in the housing safety net that helps some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society.”
A spokesman for equalities secretary Angela Constance said: “A good supply of affordable homes is vital to ensuring everyone has an equal chance of getting on in life.
“When Labour were last in power they only built six council houses – in contrast we have brought back council house building and are investing in delivering at least 50,000 affordable homes – with 35,000 available for social rent – over this parliament, backed by £3 billion.”
A budget of £422 million has been set aside for affordable homes this year, he said.
“In addition we have taken action in a number of ways to tackle inequalities, including free school meals, increasing child care, additional financial support to reduce the attainment gap, an improvement programme to address neglect and enhance wellbeing.”