Billionaire to tackle child poverty 'shame'

SIR Tom Hunter is to launch a new charitable venture to aid Scottish children in poverty, branding the issue "Scotland's silent shame".

Hunter, one of Scotland's richest men, will join forces with six children's charities along with STV to run a fund-raising campaign which will culminate in a number of televised appeals in the autumn. The billionaire businessman's Hunter Foundation will underwrite the costs of the campaign.

"It's a scandal that one in four kids in our country live under the poverty line," Hunter told Scotland on Sunday.

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"We've thought about it for a long time, what we can do in our small way. Getting six charities involved in looking at how to cure the problem, we can then ask local and central government to get involved once we have something positive to say. That's what excites me about it, I'm not sure it's been done in this way before. But I firmly believe this problem is something that can be solved."

The six children's charities involved in the campaign include Save the Children Scotland, Children 1st, Barnardo's Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, Action for Children and Aberlour, which will work together to start new projects to aid Scotland's most underprivileged children.

Hunter said they are also looking to involve "corporate Scotland" in the appeal.

"The difference here is we've got a group of people from different sectors who actually care," he said. "I'm not saying people didn't care in the past, but perhaps they were doing it in their own silo and perhaps now we are going to get to the root cause of this. It's got to be joined-up thinking."

However, he stopped short of blaming the previous Scottish Government for failing to tackle the issues.

"What we need to do is come up with sustainable proven measures and then get central and local government to take them on," he said.