One in 10 kids ‘live in poverty’
ONE in 10 Selkirkshire children were living in poverty last year, a report produced by the End Child Poverty campaign has revealed.
Across the Borders, the study estimated that nearly 3,000 children (13 per cent) were living in homes where families were in receipt of benefits and/or the total income was less than 60 per cent of median income before housing costs were included.
Of the 11 council ward areas in the region, Selkirkshire came in fourth lowest for children in poverty.
The two Tweeddale wards and Leaderdale and Melrose had the lowest levels of kids in poverty, an estimated eight per cent.
At the other end of the scale, a quarter of children living in the Hawick and Denholm ward were estimated to be living in poverty in 2012.
Bronwyn Coggan, chair of the Borders Children’s Charity, told The Wee Paper: “I think these figures will shock people in the Borders. The Hawick and Denholm figure is up there with some of the Glasgow areas.”
She added: “It seems clear the Government needs to be putting not only more resources into tackling poverty, but a clearer, longer-term plan into tackling the child poverty numbers.
“The Borders Children’s Charity was set up 47 years ago to help children who find themselves in desperate situations through no fault of their own. Sadly, the need for this is still greater than ever.
“A large number of requests for help we receive are for basics that no child should be without, such as beds, bedroom furniture, clothes, shoes – which sounds incredibly Third World, not Scottish Borders.”
This week two local MSPs clashed following the publication of the figures.
Tory John Lamont said: “Growing up in poverty can severely reduce the chances of a child having a bright future.
“It often means growing up in a cold home, not having enough money to eat healthily and falling behind in school, as statistics show that the poorest children often do worse than their better-off classmates.
“There can be no doubt that we must do more to prevent it, yet these figures reveal that for thousands of children in the Borders, poverty is very much a reality.”
He added: “To have as many as 13 per cent of children in our area being on the wrong side of the poverty line is unacceptable, and we need to see these figures reduce.
“While we might have a lower proportion than other regions, this is no excuse to sit back and do nothing, and I would urge the Scottish Government to do more to tackle this problem.”
However, Christine Grahame, of the SNP, retorted: “John Lamont should be awarded an Oscar for his breathtaking hypocrisy in his comments on child poverty in the Borders.
“The Tories, together with their Lib Dem partners in crime, have cut the Scottish Government budget by millions, are introducing the unfair Universal Credit, are stigmatising the disabled as workshy and now are set on introducing a ‘bedroom tax’ which will force many to either fall into rent arrears and then homelessness, or drive them from their homes and their communities.
“What planet is he living on? Does he really think Borderers are daft and don’t know where the blame lies?”
John Dickie, speaking on behalf of Scottish members of the End Child Poverty campaign, said: “These latest figures show low-income families both in and out of work have to some extent been protected through recession by benefits and tax credit support.
“But the hidden picture is far more sinister as the current ripping away of that support is forecast to drive tens of thousands of children into poverty across Scotland in the coming years.”
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Weather for Selkirk
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 10 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 8 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 8 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North east