A new report that reveals the number of children living in poverty rose to nearly 17,000 in Ayrshire 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 Ayrshire rose from 15,312 to 16,751 between 2014/15 and 2018/19.

In East Ayrshire, the number rose from 5,250 to 5,899- increasing by 3.1% from 24.8% to 27.9%

In South Ayrshire, the figure increased from 4,167 to 4,404- increasing by 1.7% from 23.3% to 25%.

In North Ayrshire, the rise was 5,895 to 6,448- increasing by 3% from 25.2% to 28.3%-

In the Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock UK Parliamentary constituency of SNP MP Allan Dorans the number of children in poverty rose from 3,913 to 4,212- increasing by 2.5% from 26.2% to 28.6%.

In Philippa Whitford’s Central Ayrshire constituency the rise was from 3,630 to 3,959- increasing by 2.3% from 24.7% to 27%

In Alan Brown’s Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency, the increase was from 4,091 to 4,624- increasing by 3.3% from 24.3% to 27.6%.

Commenting on the report Colin Smyth said: “The increase in child poverty across Ayrshire 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. It is nothing short of a disgrace that kids are still going hungry to bed each night in Ayrshire 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 Ayrshire from already high levels and we enter the worst recession in memory.”

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