Ministers accused of fiddling child poverty figures

The Scottish executive was accused of moving the goalposts when
ministers produced a report suggesting child poverty had fallen
dramatically over the last six years, writes Nicola

Statistics released by the executive show that 21 per cent of
children in Scotland were living in absolute poverty in 2000-01,
compared to 34 per cent in 1996-97 when Labour took office.

Social justice minister Margaret Curran said: “We have made huge
inroads into defeating poverty, and we stand by our commitment to
beat child poverty within a generation.”

She also announced an extra £31 million over the next three
years to tackle child poverty.

But the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland says the
executive has changed the way the statistics are normally compiled
and, in so doing, has “moved the goalposts”.

CPAG’s own recent report used the 60 per cent median line
as a gauge, ie: children living in families receiving less than
half the national average income. The report found that one in
three children in Scotland lives in poverty.

Danny Phillips, manager of CPAG, said: “According to this
commonly used measure, child poverty increased by 1 per cent last
year in Scotland.

“The executive has used another measure called ‘absolute
poverty’. Absolute poverty is defined as a family of two
adults and two children with less than £193 a week to spend
after housing costs,” he said.

Scottish executive social justice report can be found at

CPAG report at

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