Friday, May 29, 2009

Joseph Rowntree Foundation: Child Poverty in Scotland

Approximately 21% of children in Scotland are living in poverty, according to a report released today by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Despite earlier progress over the last decade in reducing child poverty – reductions were greater in Scotland than in other UK regions – levels have stalled since 2004/05 and are now fairly similar to the rest of the UK.

Today's report, Child poverty in Scotland: taking the next steps, discusses progress made to end child poverty in Scotland. It states that the Scottish government could do more to reduce child poverty in Scotland. A wide range of policy measures are recommended to get progress back on track, from increasing the availability of affordable childcare to encouraging the Scottish government to look seriously at defining and paying a living wage. One in five lone parents referred to the cost of childcare as a barrier to employment, and 15 per cent mentioned the lack of available care in the Families And Children Study (Willitts et al.,2003)

Joint author, Stephen Sinclair from the Scottish Poverty Information Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: "The political opportunities to end child poverty in Scotland are potentially greater than in many other parts of the UK. This places a huge responsibility on the Scottish government to do all it can to achieve the target of eradicating child poverty by 2020."

Specific measures that authors suggest the Scottish government should implement include:

* encouraging employers to create more flexible jobs which allow parents to combine work and care responsibilities;
* increasing access to affordable, flexible childcare;
* providing in-work support and advice to help parents remain in employment;
* giving serious consideration to the concept of a Scottish living wage and what more public sector employers can do to tackle poverty among their employees.

Full report Source Joseph Rowntree Foundation 29 May 2009


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