Comment: Child poverty is a penalty that lasts a lifetime

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Our story about teachers buying food and clothes for pupils who cannot afford them is heartbreaking.

Heartbreaking, but no surprise. The number of children living in relative poverty in Scotland is on the rise. We know that. So too is the gap between rich and poor.

The worst part of it though is that the impact on these youngsters will last a lifetime. Most will be lagging behing their peers long before they leave primary school. They are likely to fall further behind at high school as teachers concentrate more of their time on their higher achieving counterparts.

The disadvantage continues when they leave school. The impact of college funding cuts means that young people from lower income backgrounds, who are more likely to attend college than university, again bear the brunt of public spending austerity. Childhood poverty is actually a penalty that lasts a lifetime - a lifetime that is likely to be shorter than that of a richer neighbour.

The UK Government’s welfare reforms are hitting many families hard. There is an easy fix, raising Child Benefit in Scotland. Whether it is that or something more far reaching the Scottish Government needs to deliver on its pledge to reverse this worrying trend.