Martin Crewe: New legislation to help tackle child poverty in Scotland is hugely welcome as we struggle to cope

Child poverty legislation is welcomed. Picture; Ian Georgeson.

Child poverty legislation is welcomed. Picture; Ian Georgeson.

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More than one in five (210,000) of Scotland’s children are officially recognised as living in poverty, a level significantly higher than in many other European countries.

That is why the announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that the Scottish Government will introduce new legislation to help tackle child poverty in Scotland is very welcome.

As members of the End Child Poverty campaign, Barnardo’s Scotland welcomes the opportunity to be involved in making sure there is a law which should set clear targets for ending child poverty in Scotland.

Legislation is important. It gives a clear direction to all of those agencies involved in working to improve the lives of children and families living in poverty.

It can also ensure that those agencies prioritise the needs of the poorest in society and report on progress in tackling the problem.

It is through our work with thousands of vulnerable children and families that we know how important it is to have poverty high on the political agenda.

Children brought up in poverty will do less well at school, have fewer opportunities to get into employment or training, earn less and have limited life chances compared to other children.

Poverty blights childhoods. Growing up in poverty means being cold, going hungry and not being able to join in activities with friends.

The families we work with tell us that rising food and energy prices, low wages and a freeze on benefits are making it harder to make ends meet. For too many children this is the reality behind the statistics.

Legislation on its own won’t fix the problem. It is, however, a necessary and vital part of ending the misery of child poverty and ensuring that every child in Scotland is able to reach their full potential.