Child poverty campaigners call for government plans to be "turbocharged" in Renfrewshire

A child and parent walking down the street
-Credit: (Image: Manchester Evening News)

Child poverty campaigners have called for a delivery plan that is ‘turbocharged not underfunded’ in response to new stats.

Yesterday, the Paisley Daily Express revealed how new figures laid bare the “heartbreaking” inequality facing Renfrewshire’s youngsters – with almost half of all children in some Paisley communities living below the

The data, released by the UK Government, shows that in communities such as Gallowhill and Ferguslie Park, 43 per cent of all children were living in poverty in the 2022/23 financial year.

By contrast, that figure dropped to just five per cent in neighbouring Howwood.

John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, responded to the publication of the Scottish Government’s sixth Annual Tackling Child Poverty Progress Report and the Poverty and Inequality Commission independent scrutiny report.

The document shows one in four children across the country are still living in poverty.

The annual report is a statutory requirement under the 2017 Child Poverty (Scotland) Act and sets out the progress made towards meeting legally binding child poverty targets.

The Act requires Scottish Ministers to consult the commission in preparing its report. The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 also requires Scottish Ministers to ensure less than less than 10 per cent of children are living in poverty by 2030.

The latest official statistics (for 2021 to 2023) show that 24 per cent of children (250,000 children) were living in poverty in Scotland.

Mr Dickie said: “We have seen very real action on child poverty in Scotland, not least the roll out of the Scottish child payment, but today’s reports are crystal clear that progress has stalled and that the policies in place are not enough to meet statutory targets.

“If child poverty really is the First Minister’s number one priority, then investment decisions need to back that up. The Scottish Government’s child poverty delivery plan needs to be turbocharged, not underfunded.

“All political parties need to act at every level of government to deliver the economic, tax and spending plans that will ensure every family has the resources needed to protect their children from poverty.”

In 2022/23 across Renfrewshire, one in five of all children were living in poverty while in neighbouring East Renfrewshire the figure was halved at 10.3 per cent.

Most harrowingly, the figures reveal how children living just streets apart face very different challenges. While 43 per cent of children in Ferguslie were living in deprived households, that figure falls to 14 per cent in Elderlsie.

Meanwhile, in Renfrew West, 31.3 per cent of children were struggling but in Paisley’s Ralston area the figure was three times lower at 9.9 per cent.

Heather Kay, manager of anti-poverty charity The Star Project, said the figures are “heartbreaking”.

She said: “People are in absolute crisis, families are in absolute crisis and that’s devastating. Two years ago a person in our community died of starvation – that should not have happened.

“We won’t forget that. We are constantly reminded of the stark situations people are living in and it is not good enough. More needs to be done, we need to see action.

“We need safety nets put in place for our communities and they need to be substantial and sustainable to stop people falling through the cracks because we shouldn’t need to bury someone else because they starved.”

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