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Friday, 21 May 2010

UK Child poverty rises for first time in 10 years

The number of children living in poverty in my home country of Scotland has risen for the first time in over a decade, official statistics have revealed. The findings showed that there were 210,000 youngsters in Scotland who were classed as being in relative poverty in 2008-9 - a rise of 10,000 on the previous year.

Twenty-one per cent of children are now affected by the problem. The increase comes despite a commitment - backed by the SNP led Scottish government - to halve child poverty by 2010 and to eradicate it all together by 2020.
The last time there was a rise in the number of youngsters in relative poverty was in 1996-97, just before the UK Labour Government & before the Scottish Parliament came into being.

The numbers jumped to 340,000 from 300,000 the previous year.
The small rise in child poverty in Scotland for the first time in 10 years is a matter of serious concern. These figures represent real children whose lives are being cut short, damaged and diminished because their families are being denied the resources they need to give them a decent start in life.

If the new government is serious about its commitment to eradicating child poverty, we need to see further increases to child benefit and tax credits, not cuts.
The statistics are a major wake-up call. There are now a further 10,000 children in Scotland whose parents struggle to get by - that's a figure equivalent to almost every child that lives in Paisley.

Many of the parents are struggling on state benefits others with benefit sanctions and no benefit payments for months upon months causing real hardship.
There can be no excuses from governments. The new UK government and Holyrood now have a choice - either to end child poverty or to face the prospect of a lost generation.

The statistics show that the poorest parents are having to provide for their children on less than £33 a day - to cover absolutely everything from housing to food, clothing, heating and transport. Parents on benefits are spending around £5 to £10 a day to cover absolutely everything from housing to food, clothing, heating and transport.
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