Page last updated at 14:06 GMT, Tuesday, 10 June 2008 15:06 UK

Child poverty levels 'stalling'

Child sitting by railings
The UK Government has a target to halve child poverty by 2010

The number of children living below the poverty line in Scotland remained unchanged between 2006 and 2007.

Just over a fifth of children in Scotland currently live in households with an income 60% below average.

Overall, the number of people living in relative poverty stands at 840,000, or 17% of the Scottish population.

Campaigners called on the UK Government to adjust the tax system and do more to tackle low wages to achieve its target of halving child poverty by 2010.

For a lone parent with two children, living on 60% below the national average income might mean managing on 220 a week.

We are outraged that the number of Scottish children living in poverty has stalled, despite promises from Westminster and Holyrood.
Irene Graham
Save the Children

Child poverty campaigners say 60% of low income households had someone in work, so addressing low wages and inequalities in the tax system was key to tackling the issue.

Irene Graham, of Save the Children Scotland, said: "We are outraged that the number of Scottish children living in poverty has stalled, despite promises from Westminster and Holyrood.

"We know the 2010 goal can be reached if they commit additional money and target support to those who need it most.

"Many families on very low incomes continue to struggle to live on the money they have, resulting in them cutting back on essentials such as buying food or clothing."

'Morally unacceptable'

She said the charity was still waiting for details on how the Scottish Government planned to tackle child poverty.

The communities minister, Stewart Maxwell, said the administration was doing what it could on child care, skills training and community regeneration, but claimed it was limited because of the Scottish Parliament's powers.

"The devolution settlement means we are fighting with one hand tied behind our back, restricting the Scottish Government's ability to take significant action to lift families out of poverty," he said.

"It is morally unacceptable that almost a quarter of our children are still being born into or condemned to live a life of hardship.

"Tackling inequalities in our society is a massive challenge and, although we have limited levers to effect change, we are determined to address these issues with a range of policies across Scottish Government portfolios."

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SEE ALSO
Children's champion voices worry
09 Jun 08 |  Scotland
Demand for child poverty action
09 May 08 |  Tayside and Central
MSPs to probe child poverty issue
23 Apr 08 |  Scotland

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