Child poverty is ‘shameful indictment’ of benefits system

Poverty girl web

Statistics shown poverty is on the rise have led to children's charities coming together to call for action

15th May 2019 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

Charities have come together to call for urgent action on child poverty.

Scottish members of End Child Poverty, the UK’s leading child poverty coalition, are calling on Holyrood ministers to urgently introduce a cash boost for low-income families in Scotland and for UK government to end the freeze on working age benefits.

The call comes as new data published today (Wednesday 15 May) shows that over 30% of children are trapped in poverty in some Scottish Parliament constituencies. At a national level the tide has turned, and child poverty is rising, reversing the progress made in reducing child poverty levels across the country.

The campaigners have welcomed the introduction of child poverty targets, and local and national delivery plans in Scotland, but are calling for the UK Government to set out an ambitious and credible child poverty reduction strategy alongside a restoration in the value of UK children’s benefits.

Researchers from Loughborough University estimated the numbers of children locked in poverty in each constituency, ward and local authority area across Britain; showing that child poverty is rising particularly rapidly in parts of major cities and often rising fastest in places where it is already highest, suggesting that inequality between areas is growing.

In Scotland, eight local authorities have more than 25% of children living in poverty.

The Scottish Government has committed to introducing a new income supplement for low-income families by 2022 as part of wider action to meet statutory targets to cut relative child poverty to less than 10% by 2030. At the same time, local authorities and health boards in Scotland are finalising their first statutory Local Child Poverty Action Reports.

However, in response to today’s figures, campaigners say that Scotland’s children can’t wait years to receive the support needed now. 

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, a leading member of End Child Poverty in Scotland, said: “Today’s stark figures outline the staggering levels of child poverty that many of our communities face. There is no question rising child poverty is driven by UK government social security cuts but Scottish ministers must act now with the utmost urgency to introduce their promised Income Supplement. Families struggling now cannot wait years for this vital additional support.

“These aren’t just statistics. These are children going hungry, missing out on school trips, unable to enjoy the activities and opportunities their better off peers take for granted. These are parents going without meals, juggling debt and seeing their own health suffer to protect their children from the poverty they face. We cannot let this become the norm in our society.”

Mr Dickie also highlighted the importance of action at local level, calling on local authorities and health boards to present their plans on tackling poverty.

Chief executive of Children in Scotland, Jackie Brock, said: “That 500,000 more children in the UK are living in poverty today than in 2010 is a shameful indictment of a social security system which has failed children and failed families. As the cost of living rises, it is a matter of urgency for low-income families that swift and meaningful action is taken to address deepening inequalities.

“The Scottish Government’s commitment to introduce a new Family Income Supplement is welcome, but today’s figures show that too many families cannot afford to wait until 2022 to see this support. Early implementation is essential.”

Marion Davis, head of policy at One Parent Families Scotland, also called for action.

She said: “It is an urgent priority for the UK government to reverse the cuts and for Scottish Government to implement policies such as the income supplement to help tackle inequality to make Scotland a fairer, more equal country.”

Anna Feuchtwang, chair of the End Child Poverty coalition, said: “We know what causes child poverty and we know how to end it. We know that the income of less well-off families has been hit by severe real-terms cuts in benefits and by higher housing costs. And we know that work alone does not guarantee a route out of poverty, with two thirds of child poverty occurring in working families.

“Yet in many areas growing up in poverty is not the exception it’s the rule with more children expected to get swept up in poverty in the coming years, with serious consequences for their life chances. The UK Government must respond with a credible child poverty-reduction strategy.

“Growing up in poverty means growing up trapped. It restricts a child’s chances of doing well at school, of living a healthy and happy life, and of finding well paid work as adults. We urgently need Government to set a course of action that will free our children from the grip of poverty.”

16th May 2019 by hennahsmith

No doubt that it is an extremely shameful thing that students in developing countries are facing hunger cause of poverty. Maybe the government need to take some steps to solve this issue worldwide.