A new report that reveals the number of children living in poverty rose to over 4,500 in the Scottish Borders 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 Borders rose from 4,132 to 4,544 between 2014/15 and 2018/19.
In David Mundell’s UK Parliamentary constituency of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, the number rose from 3,014 to 3,310- an increase of 2.5% from 21.2% to 23.8%
In John Lamont’s Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk constituency the number increases from 3,436 to 3,886- an increase of 2.8% from 22.4% to 25.2%
Commenting on the report Colin Smyth said, “The increase in child poverty across the Borders should shame us all. Too often the true extent of poverty can be hidden due the rural nature of the area but this report exposes the growing scandal and a damning indictment of David Mundell and John Lamont’s Tory Government. It is nothing short of a disgrace that more and more kids are going hungry to bed each night in the Borders and across Scotland”.
“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 in the borders and we enter the worst recession in memory.”