Increase in number of children in poverty in Scotland

The number of Scottish children living in poverty has increased
over the last year in spite of government plans to reduce the
number, writes Reg McKay.

According to a government report, ‘Households Below Average
Income’, the number of children living in poverty in Scotland has
increased from 29 per cent last year to 30 per cent this year. The
number is down from 34 per cent in 1997.

The same report reveals 500,000 children have been lifted from
poverty in the UK since 1997, despite a government target of one

A spokesperson for the department of work and pensions dismissed
the Scottish figure as still being part of the overall UK trend of
fewer children in poverty, and said the increase was due to “the
sample size being smaller which sometimes throws up these small
variations in data”.

Danny Phillips, policy manager of the Child Poverty Action Group
in Scotland, said: “The figures are deeply disappointing, and
underscore the need for more to be done to tackle income poverty
here in Scotland.”

Margaret Curran, deputy social justice minister, accepted that
more could be done to eradicate poverty but said “Measures such as
the £24 million childcare package for lone parents and the
£80 million Sure Start programme will ensure that those
families most in need will get practical support.”

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