Cuts set to push more Scottish children into poverty
THE number of children in poverty in Scotland remains unacceptably high, campaigners have said.
Official statistics show that, after families’ housing costs are taken into account, 220,000 children were living in relative poverty in 2010-11 or 21 per cent of all youngsters.
This is a drop of 30,000 on the previous year.
Campaigners say “much more work” needs done, warning that more children will be forced to go cold and hungry in the coming years because of public spending cuts and high unemployment.
People are classed as living in relative poverty if their household income is less than 60 per cent of the UK median income. A couple with no children live in poverty if they receive less than £251 a week.
In 2010-11 a total of 780,000 people – 15 per cent of the population – were in poverty. This rises to 910,000 if housing costs are accounted for. The totals are down on last year’s figures of 870,00 and 980,000 respectively.
The number of pensioners in relative poverty remained static at 160,000. But the number of elderly people in absolute poverty rose by 10,000 to 90,000, meaning their income is under 60 per cent of the median for 1998-9. Because the definition is linked to income, poverty levels were recorded as falling when individual earnings reduced in real terms in 2010-11, thereby reducing the median income level.
Campaigners said this fall in child poverty would be short-lived. Douglas Hamilton, head of Save the Children’s in Scotland, said: “The numbers are still unacceptably high.
“It does show that it is possible to tackle child poverty when the political will is there and the right actions are taken.
“The number of children growing up cold and hungry because their parents can’t afford basic essentials is set to rise in Scotland over the next eight years, wiping out all the progress that has been made. ”
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