ANTI-POVERTY campaigners welcomed a new Scottish Govern-ment strategy on tackling child poverty.

As reported in the Evening Times, Nicola Sturgeon Deputy First Minister, revealed the plan in Glasgow yesterday about extra advice on benefits and welfare, early interven-tions in health and education and a focus on improving housing and local communities through regeneration.

Ms Sturgeon said the strategy was aimed at maximising household resources and improv-ing children's life chances.

John Dickie, head of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) in Scotland, said: "The focus of the strategy on maximising family resources and improv-ing children's wellbeing is welcome, as is the increased attention paid to tackling the damaging 'attainment gap' that means children growing up in poverty too often get less out of our educa-tion system than their better off peers."

Mark Ballard, head of policy for Barnardo's Scotland said: "We are pleased that the aspiration to have a Scotland where no child is disadvantaged by poverty remains central to the strategy, and welcomes the renewed commitment by the Scottish Government to eliminating child poverty.

"The refreshed strategy highlights the importance of focusing on early years and mitigating the impacts of welfare reform."

However, Labour said child poverty had worsened under the SNP.

Welfare spokes-woman Jackie Baillie said: "The record on child poverty is clear. Under Labour, child poverty in Scotland was reduced dramatically.

"Since the SNP took power, that reduction stalled.

"Tackling child poverty has quite simply not been a priority for the SNP."