Calls for UK Government to act to tackle child poverty

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By a Newsnet reporter
 
A Scottish MSP has urged the UK government to take action to tackle child poverty after a newly published report showed an increasing number of children experiencing hardship.
 
The calls come as figures released by the Campaign to End Child Poverty showed a map of areas across Scotland with poverty figures for each.

John Dickie, speaking on behalf of Scottish members of the Campaign to End Child Poverty, said: “It is shameful that in almost every part of our country there are children who are missing out and seeing their future life chances seriously harmed.

“With public spending budgets under severe pressure the need to invest to prevent the numbers of children living in poverty spiralling is greater than ever.”

The worst area was Springburn which has child poverty rate of 52%.  Campaigners believe that cuts could see levels of child poverty spiral and are urging politicians to take action.

Following the release of the figures SNP MSP Bob Doris said the UK Government must act to ensure its welfare reforms do not push more young people into poverty.

He said:

“Every child in Scotland deserves the best possible start in life and it is for this reason that the SNP launched Scotland’s first ever national strategy to tackle child poverty that will help the poorest families increase their household incomes.

“We have used every lever at our disposal to keep children out of poverty through a range of preventative spending measures, freezing the council tax, making prescription charges free and combating fuel poverty by increasing funding for fuel poverty schemes for those with young children.

Mr Doris claimed that the UK coalition’s welfare reform program was hampering efforts to tackle child poverty and added:

“It is for the this reason that the Scottish Parliament – led by the SNP – overwhelmingly rejected controversial benefit changes linked to Iain Duncan Smith’s welfare reform plans.

“This report … should be a wake-up call to the UK Government whose reforms risk pushing more people into poverty.

“If full control of the tax and benefits system was devolved to the Scottish Government then poverty could be tackled far more effectively.”

Scottish members of the Campaign to End Child Poverty include Action for Children Scotland, Barnardo’s Scotland, Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, Children 1st, the Church of Scotland, One Parent Families Scotland, Poverty Alliance and Save the Children.