CAMPAIGNERS have warned Scotland is facing a child poverty crisis, as new figures showed one in five children was still living in deprived conditions.
Scottish Government figures revealed 210,000 children were living in relative poverty in Scotland in 2013-14 after housing costs had been paid.
The figure, which works out at 22 per cent of Scottish children and represents a decrease of 10,000 from the previous year, was branded “unacceptable” by the social justice secretary Alex Neil.
Before housing costs, child poverty stood at 14 per cent in 2013-14, a total of 140,000 children and a decrease of 40,000 on the previous year.
Overall there were 730,000 people in Scotland living in relative poverty – the equivalent of 14 per cent of the population and a decrease of 90,000 on the previous year.
When it came to working age adults, 440,000, or 14 per cent, were living in relative poverty in 2013-14, a decrease of 40,000 on the previous year.
Households with incomes below 60 per cent of UK median income – what is said to be the poverty threshold – are said to be in relative poverty. In simple terms, two adults with a joint income of less than £272 a week would be living in poverty in 2013-14.
The number of pensioners living in relative poverty increased by 10,000 to 160,000 in 2013-14.
Campaigners warned cuts to tax credits meant the situation could get worse in years to come.
John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said: “Any falls in headline child poverty figures are welcome, but the harsh reality is that over one in five children in Scotland are still living in poverty, and levels of material deprivation appear to be rising.
“There can be no room for complacency, especially when ongoing cuts and freezes to the uprating of family benefits look set to erode family incomes in the years to come.”
Mr Neil said: “These unacceptable levels of child poverty in Scotland show the shocking reality of the UK government’s austerity agenda. Westminster’s approach of slashing budgets is having a damaging impact in Scotland, with 210,000 children now living in relative poverty.
“While these figures are inexcusable, I dread to think how many more people will be pushed into distress and despair as a direct result of the UK government’s proposed £12 billion cuts to the welfare budget.”