A new report that reveals the number of children living in poverty in Dumfries and Galloway rose to over 6,000 last year, “should shame us all”, says South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth


The local MSP has called for action from both the UK and Scottish Governments after new research published by the End Child Poverty coalition and carried out by Loughborough University, showed that the number of children living in poverty in the region rose from 5,610 to 6,141 between 2014/15 and 2018/19.


It means the percentage of local children in poverty reached over a quarter at 26.2% – up by 2.8% from the 23.4% in 2014/15.


In the UK Parliamentary constituency of Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack, the number of children in poverty rose from 3,753 to 4,058- increasing by 2.5% from 24.3% to 26.8%.


In David Mundell’s Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale constituency, the number rose from 3,014 to 3,310- an increase of 2.5% from 21.2% to 23.8%


Commenting on the report Colin Smyth said, “The increase in child poverty across Dumfries and Galloway should shame us all. Too often we try to paint a pretty picture of the region but fail to face up to issues such as the true extent of poverty locally. It is nothing short of a scandal that kids are still going hungry to bed each night in our region”.


“Both Governments need to wake up to this scandal and put in place a proper plan to tackle child poverty. The Scottish Government could start by bringing forward the planned Scottish Child Payment instead of waiting until next year. The UK Government should also put on hold their planned cuts to Universal Credit, which would see families lose out on £1000 a year. Given this data on increasing child poverty, such a cut would be disgraceful.”


“What is frightening is the fact this report is based on the situation prior to the current pandemic. The figures are bad enough but are a massive underestimate of the likely current level of child poverty as unemployment continues to rise locally and we enter the worst recession in memory.”

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