One in four children ‘in poverty’
One in four children in Scotland live in poverty, according to a report from a leading children’s charity.
Barnardo’s Scotland said that about 250,000 youngsters were currently living below the breadline.
The charity has called on First Minister Alex Salmond to give priority to helping families living on less than 60% of the average household income.
The Scottish Executive said it was currently reviewing its commitments to tackling child poverty.
Barnardo’s Scotland said there should be free school meals for children with parents on the maximum working tax credit.
It has asked for a special commission to be established to identify the policies needed to meet the Scottish and UK Governments’ target of halving child poverty by 2010.
In the report It Doesn’t Happen Here, Barnardo’s Scotland warns that an investment of £3.8bn is needed to meet that target, and a further target of eradicating the problem completely by 2020.
Director Martin Crewe said: ‘Today in Scotland, children are missing out on what most of us would consider essentials.
‘Although the Scottish Executive has taken steps to reduce child poverty, we should be ashamed that one in four children are still living in poverty in Scotland today, when the UK is the fifth richest economy in the world.’
Mr Crewe added: ‘This is a wonderful opportunity for the new First Minister Alex Salmond to create a real legacy for Scotland’s children.’
Barnardo’s defines children living in poverty as a couple with two children living on less than £301 a week after housing costs, or £223 a week for a lone parent with two children.
Stewart Maxwell, the minister for communities, said: ‘We are currently reviewing our commitments to tackle child poverty, by targeting the causes and providing greater access to jobs, enhancement of skills, and better health services.
‘We welcome this contribution to the debate on poverty in Scotland and we will carefully consider the recommendations contained within this new report.’