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220,000 children in Scotland live in poverty – this is a shocking statistic and one which STV and The Hunter Foundation together are determined to tackle.
The STV Appeal hopes to expose Scotland’s secret shame, raise awareness, challenge stereotypes and draw attention to the real extent of child poverty in Scotland. We'll be giving Scotland’s vulnerable children a voice. You'll be giving whatever you can via our Just Giving page, secure in the knowledge that every penny rasied stays in Scotland and is spent on the children; STV and the Hunter foundation are covering all the administrative costs involved.
*Please note: the children in the above film are actors.
Be in the know:
Poverty in Scotland is significantly higher than in other European countries. One in five of Scotland's children are officially recognised as living in poverty.
How is poverty defined?
People are considered as living in poverty if they live in households with less than 60% of average household income.
This means that a lone parent family with two children (aged between 5 and 14) are defined as living in poverty if they are living on less than £256 per week.
A couple with two children (aged between 5 and 14) are defined as living in poverty if they are living on less than £346 a week which averages out at just over £12 a day.
This is just not enough when you have to cover costs such as food, fuel bills, household goods and transport…and this is before additional extras like school trips, family trips and leisure activities are even accounted for.
Child poverty is not simply a consequence of long term unemployment. Figures from the Department for Work and Pensions' Households Below Average Income report show that - 61% of child poverty occurs in households where at least one adult is working.
A new report by think-tank Demos indicates the full extent of the hardship experienced in Scotland across seven areas (low income, overcrowding, worklessness, ill health, no educational qualifications, mental health problems and poor neighbourhood). A survey of both parents and children carried out by Save the Children in June 2012 show the extent to which poverty affects families and children:
- 61% of parents in poverty have had to cut back on food bills and 29% have bought less fresh fruit and vegetables because it's too expensive
- 80% of parents in poverty have had to borrow money to pay for essentials such as food and clothes in the past year.
Is poverty falling?
Great progress was made in reducing the number of people, specifically children, who were living in poverty between 1996/97 and 2004/05 when poverty statistics fell over a quarter by 100,000.
However, The Institute of Fiscal Studies forecasts that, as a result of UK tax and benefit policies, there will be significant increases in child poverty in the coming years. In Scotland alone forecast trends would suggest between 50,000 and 100,000 more children being pushed into poverty by 2020.
What is life like for children living in poverty?
It's tough. Children living in poverty in Scotland have less access to safe play space. They are also less likely to participate in arts and drama, sports or other outdoor activities.
Sources: The Poverty Alliance, Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, The Open University Scotland and Glasgow Caledonian University, Institute of Fiscal Studies and Demos.
STV Appeal is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation, number SC042429