New statistics on child poverty demonstrate life-changing impact of social security
One Parent Families Scotland (OPFS), a member of the End Child Poverty coalition, has joined its partner organisations in calling for urgent political action in response to the latest child poverty figures.
A new report and data on child poverty across the UK was published by End Child Poverty today (14 October) based on research by Loughborough University.
The data shows that over 27% of children in the UK and one in five children in Scotland were living in poverty in 2020/21, despite the temporary £20 per week Universal Credit increase during pandemic.
OPFS supports End Child Poverty’s calls and notes that children in single parent families are at particular risk of poverty, with a recent Scottish Government report putting the figure at 39% prior to COVID-19.
There are still far too many children living in poverty in Scotland, with some areas faring far worse than others.
In the five areas where OPFS has local services, the percentages of children living in poverty after housing costs are:
- Dundee: 22.5%
- Edinburgh: 17.2%
- Falkirk: 21.5%
- Glasgow: 29.4%
- North Lanarkshire: 23.2%
One Parent Families Scotland Chief Executive Satwat Rehman commented:
“The overall reduction in child poverty in 2020/21 – in large part due to support for families the temporary Universal Credit uplift – is a welcome demonstration of the life-changing impact of policies which put money in money in low-income families’ pockets.
“This is why, along with End Child Poverty coalition partners, we’re urging the Scottish Government to double the bridging payment for children over six to match the increase for younger children, and the UK Government to increase benefits in line with inflation.
“We also recognise that Scotland has lower child poverty than England and Wales. The greater availability of affordable social housing in Scotland has kept its poverty rate down, but that is cold comfort to the growing number of families caught in the rising tide of in-work poverty, increased living costs, and a UK social security system which fails to provide a safety net.
“We also must acknowledge that in some parts of Scotland, child poverty levels are much higher than others, while we know from other data sources that specific groups like single parents are at far greater risk of poverty. In Glasgow – where single parent families are most common, at 40% of all families with children – close to one in 3 children are living in poverty.
“Now is the time to invest further in affordable housing, flexible, affordable early years and school-age childcare, and fair employment if we are to meet our ambitions as a society to eradicate the blight of child poverty.”