One fifth of children in Scotland living in poverty, report finds

Researchers found children in Glasgow were more likely to live in families with limited resources than the rest of Scotland. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL
Researchers found children in Glasgow were more likely to live in families with limited resources than the rest of Scotland. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL
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One fifth of children in Scotland live in families that are in poverty and cannot afford basic necessities, new figures show.

Scottish Government statistics indicate that 20% of children in Scotland live in families which are both classified as having limited resources - meaning they have low incomes, defined as having 70% of middle income - and also live in material deprivation, so cannot afford basics such as being able to repair or replace a broken kettle.

Researchers found children in Glasgow were more likely to live in families with limited resources than the rest of Scotland, with 41% of youngsters affected, while those in Moray were less likely to be in that situation than elsewhere in the country, with 10% affected.

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The report shows children are more likely than the Scottish average to live in families with limited resources if they live in a single parent household (42%), have three or more siblings (39%), live with a disabled adult (32%) and if no or only one adult in the home works (67%).

Living in a rented home and in a deprived area both mean children have a higher likelihood than the Scottish average of being in poverty, with 53% of those in social rented accommodation and 30% in private rented homes affected and 40% of those in the most deprived areas.

Children are less likely than the Scottish average to live in poverty if they are living with two or more adults (15%), in homes where two adults are in employment (4%), stay in accessible rural areas (14%) and live in the least deprived areas of Scotland (3%).

Researchers produced the experimental statistics by questioning 2,424 families with children across Scotland about their income and what basic necessities they could not afford and then estimating how many children lived in families with limited resources, where they lived and how they were comprised.

In the list of basic necessities, they found 34% of children live in families which do not have £500 to cover an unexpected, but necessary, expense; 21% do not have enough money to repair or replace broken electrical goods; 17% lack the cash to take part in sports or other exercise and 8% are too poor to live in a damp-free home.

For child necessities, researchers found 21% of children did not have money to save, 20% did not have a yearly holiday, 5% could not access a computer and the internet for homework and 2% did not have a warm winter coat.

Researchers said the figures should help local organisations in Scotland with anti-poverty work, stating: “The statistics show, for example, that some areas have more or fewer problems with these issues than the national average. The statistics also show which types of households are most affected, helping local partners to target their activities appropriately.”

The report defines children as those aged under 17 as well as 17-19-year-old full-time students who live at home.