Challenge Poverty Week is a stark reminder for all Scots

Many households across Scotland are struggling to make ends meet, data reveals. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL
Many households across Scotland are struggling to make ends meet, data reveals. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL
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The annual Challenge Poverty Week (CPW) offers politicians and campaigners the chance to discuss how best to tackle the persistent social inequalities that impact on the lives of too many people in Scotland.

Numerous selfies have appeared on social media of people holding up pledges to support CPW and its work after the event began on Monday, helping to spread its core message among the wider public.

Organised by the Poverty Alliance - a collection of charities, voluntary groups and other third sector parties - the 2017 CPW aims to “highlight the reality of poverty and challenge the stereotypes that exist about it” as well as demonstrate what’s already being done to help.

It is important to emphasise that positive action is being taken to help people across the country.

To take one example, Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government this week pledged a renewed focus on tackling homelessness after the number of rough sleepers in Scotland’s largest city rose last winter.

But the other aspect of CPW - highlighting the reality of poverty in 2017 - makes thoroughly depressing reading and illustrates just how much work remains to be done.

One in five children across Scotland is estimated to grow up in poverty. In Glasgow, the figure is one in three.

Even in Edinburgh - so often considered a beacon of affluence - just under a quarter (22%) of children are being raised in households that are failing to make ends meet.

Those raised in poverty can expect to die 13 years before children living in more affluent surroundings.

Other statistics reveal just how far some adults have drifted from the prospect of regular paid work and the chance of improving their own situation. The Glasgow Indicators project - which draws together official data from the council, NHS and academia - found that in 2015, at least 11 per cent of adults in the city still did not have access to a bank or building society account.

While there are some welcome improvements - the number of children raised in workless households has fallen since 2004, for example - CPW remains a stark reminder of the challenges too many Scots face on a daily basis.

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