Calls for effective action as child poverty reaches 20 year high

New Government figures show that 1.03 million people in Scotland are living below the poverty threshold.  This is a 1% rise of 30,000 people living in relative poverty in the three-year period up to 2018.

This includes 240,000 children living in poverty, and two thirds of those coming from working households.

Douglas Hamilton, of the Poverty and Inequality Commission, said it was time for “meaningful action”.

He said: “Poverty has a firm grip on Scotland. Behind these statistics, there is the reality that over one million people are locked in a daily struggle to make ends meet.

“If the Scottish Government is serious about addressing this, it should be making full use of their powers to reduce housing costs, improve earnings and enhance social security.”

These new statistics come in the wake of a damning report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights who said that the UK Government is not listening to those experiencing poverty, and that ‘poverty is a political choice.’

You can read more about the response to the new statistics around poverty here.

You can read the UN Special Rapporteur’s initial report here.

 

 

Meanwhile, a coalition of charities have urged the Government to take urgent steps to protect people and places in poverty from the financial consequences of Brexit, including no-deal.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), Poverty Alliance, Shelter, Trussell Trust, Child Poverty Action Group, Action for Children, National Children’s Bureau, Turn2us, Barnardos and ATD Fourth World have sent an open letter to all MPs, calling for three urgent steps to be taken as a minimum:

  • Lift the freeze on working-age benefits and tax credits on 8th April 2019
  • Make urgent improvements to Universal Credit (UC), by ending the five-week wait for first payment, to prevent destitution
  • Bring forward an emergency stimulus package for areas with high poverty and economies exposed to disruption in trade

You can read more about this here.

 

 

 

Image credit: Thomas’s pics, Flickr