Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Number of Perth and Kinross children in poverty ‘a disgrace’ as figure rises by hundreds

Councillor Peter Barrett

The number of Perth and Kinross children living in poverty has increased by hundreds between 2015 and 2020, new figures have revealed.

The Local Child Poverty Action Report highlighted the figure rose by more than 600 children in the years leading up to and including the first year of the pandemic, in what has been dubbed a “disgrace”.

The rise meant that almost a quarter of children in the area (22.6%) were living in poverty, a figure that is believed to have been worsened by challenges such as higher costs of housing and childcare.

Perth Foodbank
Perth and Kinross Foodbank saw an 89% increase in the number of children in need.

The report suggests the full impact of Covid is still unclear despite “many families” experiencing “significant financial stress” as a result.

It comes as we reported a shocking 89% increase in the number of children having received support from Perth Foodbank between June and September this year, compared to the same period in 2020.

‘A national disgrace’

One Perth councillor says the already rising child poverty rate will have been only exacerbated by the pandemic.

Peter Barrett, Perth and Kinross Council’s Lead for Equalities and Community Planning Partnership member, believes it may get even worse.

“(The rise) is a national disgrace which shines a spotlight on exactly where the Scottish Government’s priorities should lie,” he said.

“These statistics don’t take account of the severe impact of Covid and the spike in energy costs, which will only mean even higher numbers of Perth and Kinross children suffering and their life-chances being diminished.”

Perth community football club expects to provide 200 meals to children during October holidays

Co-chair of the Perth and Kinross Community Planning Partnership and Chief Executive of PKAVS, Paul Graham believes this is a worrying trend.

He said: “The Community Planning Partnership is committed to giving every child the best start in life in Perth and Kinross.

“We are therefore collectively concerned about the rise in child poverty locally as well as determined to work together to turn this trend around.

“There are many partnership initiatives already underway to tackle child poverty locally.”

Why was there an increase before Covid?

According to the report, Perth and Kinross’ unique challenges have driven its child poverty rate.

It read: “We do have specific challenges, with the root causes of poverty appearing to be structural and related to local labour markets (low wage economy and incidence of precarious employment); the existence of a poverty premium exacerbated by higher costs of housing, childcare, transport, food and fuel in rural areas and digital exclusion due to poor connectivity, lack of skills or inability to afford data packages or devices.”

But the reasons for the increase may also be due to national events and factors, according to another local councillor.

Councillor Andrew Parrott, who sits on Perth and Kinross Council’s Community Planning Partnership Board, believes those with lower incomes have been hit hardest.

“All I can say is that UK government actions with regard to Economic policy, including Brexit, a reserved area of government and Welfare policy, a largely reserved area of government, have been less than helpful to those on benefits and to those in less secure or lower paid employment,” he said.

“Unfortunately the increasingly negative effects of Brexit on the economy and the introduction of higher national insurance charges for those in lower paid employment by the UK government will all act to make the reduction of levels of child poverty even more challenging.”

‘We need to do things differently’

Welfare assistants have been suggested as one way of tackling poverty in the area.

“We need to design our interventions with local lived experience of poverty to know whether interventions are working and what has the most impact,” Councillor Barrett added.

“We need to do things differently.

“The plan proposed locating welfare assistants in GP surgeries, which I think could be really effective at reaching families in poverty in a stigma free setting.

“But I want assurance that the assistants are located in the right GP surgeries, both rural and urban, where they will have most impact.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]