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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2007, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
Figures show increase in poverty
Children on estate
Campaigners are concerned about the child poverty statistics
Almost one million people in Scotland are living in relative poverty, according to latest figures.

The statistics showed that 980,000 Scots were living in relative poverty (after housing costs) in 2005/06 - an increase of 20,000 on the year before.

Campaigners warned that Scottish Executive targets on tackling child poverty were now in "serious jeopardy".

Communities Minister Rhona Brankin said the Scottish Executive would eradicate child poverty over the long term.

The statistics showed that the number of working age adults in relative poverty was up by 30,000 to 620,000.

These figures reveal that progress in Scotland has stalled over the past year
Douglas Hamilton
Save the Children in Scotland

Save the Children in Scotland said the statistics were "disgraceful" after the figures showed a standstill in the number of children in relative poverty (250,000) and absolute poverty (150,000).

The charity said urgent action was needed if the target of halving child poverty by 2010 was to be achieved.

Douglas Hamilton, head of policy and research, said: "The child poverty target, one of the government's chief priorities, is now in serious jeopardy.

"These figures reveal that progress in Scotland has stalled over the past year.

"The Scottish Executive and UK Government strategies have not gone nearly far enough - the figures are disgraceful."

Child poverty

The figures for the number of pensioners affected by relative poverty remained at 150,000.

However, despite the increase on the previous year, the figures are down since devolution.

Since 1998/99 the number of households in absolute poverty had fallen by 44% - from 980,000 to 550,000 in 2005/06.

Over the same period, the number of children living in absolute poverty had dropped by 57% - from 300,000 to 130,000.

Rhona Brankin
Our drive to tackle poverty is having the desired effect over the long term
Rhona Brankin
Communities Minister

This suggests that 12% of all youngsters live in absolute poverty, compared to 28% seven years ago.

Ms Brankin said: "The figures issued today show that although there has been little change in the overall number of people in poverty from last year we have made real progress tackling poverty since devolution.

"There are fewer children, adults and pensioners in absolute poverty than there were in 1998/99 and our drive to tackle poverty is having the desired effect over the long term.

"We have already exceeded our target to reduce child poverty by a quarter by 2004/05, ahead of the UK, and there is no doubt we are on target to meet our promise to eradicate child poverty by 2020."

Shocking indictment

Ms Brankin said projects such as Sure Start Scotland, which helps those with young children, and the Working for Families Fund, which provides childcare solutions so parents can take part in training or work, were lifting people from poverty.

But she added: "There will always be up and downs in the statistics from year to year."

The Scottish National Party's deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon said the figures were a "shocking indictment of 10 years of Labour in power".

Liberal Democrat MP Danny Alexander said: "We need more commitment to the goal of cutting child poverty - with extra investment in education and childcare for the poorest children and a reduction in regressive taxes."

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