Half of kids in poverty from working families

EIGHTY thousand children of working families are living below the breadline in Scotland, according to research.

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Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched a new strategy to tackle child poverty
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched a new strategy to tackle child poverty

Scottish Government statistics show that more than half of the children in poverty are living in households where at least one parent is in a job.

The research is based on a measure whereby a couple with two children living on less than £20,500 - 60% of the average income - is considered to be in "relative poverty".

Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister, revealed the findings as she launched the Scottish Government's new strategy to tackle poverty.

She met people in low- income families and support services workers.

Karen Hendry, a 36-year-old single mum from the East End has relied on help from the Scottish Welfare Fund to make ends meet while working and studying for a degree.

She said: "Over the last number of years, while studying, I've made sacrifices for my family and managing on one wage, and even with tax credits and child support payments it isn't easy. On three occasions I received emergency money from the Scottish Welfare Fund and this was literally life-saving for me.

"People should be aware of the stress that this puts on families. I constantly worry about money and I know my child suffers because of the welfare reforms.

"A lot of the time I feel as though I am working so hard just to survive."

The strategy will focus on providing advice on welfare and benefit changes to maximise household income and offer help to find employment and managing debt.

A drive to improve children's life chances through educational attainment and early years development, together with housing, regeneration and community empowerment measures, will attempt to tackle deprivation.

Ms Sturgeon said Westminster welfare cuts and austerity measures were pushing more families into poverty.

She said: "We know that work can reduce the risk of poverty, but work is not always enough on its own. This strategy continues our preventative approach aimed at maximising household resources, improving children's life chances and providing sustainable places.

"However, we now have an increasing focus on mitigating against the harmful effects of Westminster welfare reforms.

"These [reforms] will not only impact on the most vulnerable in our society, they will also set progress back at least 10 years.

"It's frustrating, when so much work has been done, to see 50,000 children in Scotland being pushed into poverty because of these unfair polices."


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