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Last Updated: Friday, 23 November 2007, 17:40 GMT
Child poverty 'national disgrace'
Boy
The charity says 90,000 Scottish children live in severe poverty
A charity has launched a campaign aimed at eradicating the "disgrace" of child poverty in Scotland.

Save the Children said almost one in every 10 children in Scotland was living in "severe poverty".

It has called on the government to provide 4bn to end child poverty across the UK.

Chancellor Alistair Darling said the government was "absolutely committed to meeting our targets and eradicating child poverty as we promised".

Save the Children said the UK Government was 14 years behind its target of halving child poverty by 2010 and eradicating it completely by 2020.

Charity workers in Edinburgh petitioned Mr Darling on the issue when he opens Save the Children's revamped Dalry Road charity shop in Edinburgh later on Friday.

They want extra money ploughed into helping parents back to work, and a new scheme to give poorer families seasonal grants of 100 for each child in summer and winter.

Parents are being forced to make impossible decisions between such basic provisions as providing an adequate meal or putting on the heating
Jane Gibreel
Save the Children

Save the Children classes the worst deprivation as that which forces families to live on 19 a day, after paying housing costs.

Jane Gibreel, Save the Children's programme director for Scotland, said the country's child poverty figures were a "national disgrace".

She added: "Alistair Darling cannot ignore the urgent need for this investment of 4bn to keep the government's promises.

"The government has done much to tackle child poverty in the UK. We applaud this. But the harsh reality is that in the past year progress has stalled.

'Absolutely committed'

"Parents are being forced to make impossible decisions between such basic provisions as providing an adequate meal or putting on the heating. It is entirely realistic for the UK government to meet its 2010 target. It is possible, if the chancellor acts now."

Speaking in Edinburgh, Mr Darling said: "Child poverty has absolutely no place in a modern, wealthy economy like ours."

"Gordon Brown as chancellor, and now me, are absolutely committed to meeting our targets and eradicating child poverty as we promised.

"We will do that both by direct government action through the child tax credits, through child benefit which is universal, and other measures.

'Support themselves'

"We will also continue to do everything we can to get people into work."

He added: "It is an absolute test that we must meet - we must make sure we do everything we can to remove child poverty."

Previous research by Save the Children revealed that 90,000 children in Scotland live in severe poverty.

A government spokesman said that they had already lifted 600,000 children out of poverty across the UK since 1997.

He added: "We are absolutely committed to ending the misery of child poverty through helping parents into work, allowing them to support themselves and their families."



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Save the Children's Irene Graham defines child poverty



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