Make ending child poverty a priority

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Thousands of children in the southside are growing up in poverty, according to a study that reveals a “growing crisis” in family living standards.

Research by The End Child Poverty coalition showed that more than 5000 children are living in poverty, an increase of 183 youngsters from 2016 where the total was 4910.

It means nearly half of all children in the area live in homes where the family income is less than 60 per cent of the UK median.

The research also showed that some of the most deprived areas of the country have seen the biggest increases in child poverty over the past few years.

It prompted calls for the government to end the freeze on children’s benefits so that families no longer see living standards squeezed as prices rise.

Paul Masterton, MP for East Renfrewshire, said: “Eradicating poverty in Scotland should be every Government’s priority. The roots of poverty are often very complex, straddling various issues that cover both reserved and devolved Government.

“In Holyrood the Scottish Conservatives supported the Child Poverty Bill. We have demonstrated our commitment to social justice with our positive engagement in the Bill’s passage. Employment remains one of the best ways out of poverty. That is why in Westminster, we have concentrated on creating record levels of employment and strong wage growth.”

He added: “However, there is always more that can be done, and both governments most focus not only on the symptoms of poverty but also the causes, whether that be social or economic.”

John Dickie, director of Child Poverty Action Group, said: “It is scandalous that across Scotland so many of our children are growing up in poverty. There can be little doubt that the UK Government’s policy of maintaining the benefits freeze despite rising prices is a major contributor to the emerging child poverty crisis.

“The figures highlight the importance of new national delivery plans and local child poverty action reports introduced by the Scottish Government under the 2017 Child Poverty (Scotland) Act.

“It is now vital that local and national government in Scotland use every tool at their disposal to make sure these plans make a real difference to families.”