Rising child poverty is a “national disgrace”, Scottish Labour leadership candidate Anas Sarwar has said.
The Glasgow MSP cited analysis by the End Child Poverty campaign that showed an increase of 20,181 children living in poverty over four years.
Almost a quarter (24%) of Scotland’s children – a total of 220,686 kids – were living in poverty in 2018-19, up from 200,505 (22%) in 2014-15, according to the figures.
The analysis of poverty statistics by the coalition of charities found an additional 5,677 children in Glasgow were living in poverty, with increases of 1,603 in Fife, 1,150 in Edinburgh and 1,032 in Aberdeen.
Mr Sarwar warned that the coronavirus pandemic will exacerbate the problem, and pledged that Scottish Labour under his leadership would aim to end child poverty.
He said Holyrood must act as a “Covid recovery parliament” for the next five years, tackling child poverty and bringing communities together, rather than focusing on “old politics of division”.
Mr Sarwar said “Tory austerity has led to a huge increase in child poverty in Scotland, with the SNP passing those cuts on to our communities.
“It is a national scandal that the last four years has seen 20,000 more children living in poverty.
“The coronavirus pandemic will have added to this crisis.
“This shows why the next term of the Scottish Parliament must be a Covid recovery parliament that focuses on rebuilding our country.
“Labour’s opponents want to return us to the old politics of division.
“We need to rebuild Scottish Labour so that our movement can work to tackle child poverty and rebuild our nation, with an aim to end child poverty.”