Child poverty in Argyll and Bute ‘costing £24m’, says Yes campaign

Child poverty in Argyll and Bute is costing taxpayers £24 million, according to the group campaigning for a Yes vote in next year’s independence referendum.

Yes Scotland says that’s the sum being spent each year to alleviate the impact of poverty on 2,209 children living in the area.

Commenting on the findings, Blair Jenkins, Yes Scotland chief executive said: “Many people living in Argyll and Bute will not be surprised to know that Scotland is a wealthy nation. Yet it doesn’t always feel like it and these figures should serve as a call to action.

“Decades of conscious policy choices at Westminster have led to widening inequalities and social injustice, while successive UK Governments have promoted policies which concentrate wealth and opportunity in the South East of England.

“With independence we can create the potential and the political will to tackle the issues that contribute to child poverty. Westminster isn’t working for Scotland’s children - in fact, it isn’t even trying.’

The Child Poverty Action Group report suggests the welfare reform programme could give rise to a number of common problems including, food poverty and transport exclusion.

The report states: “Children in poverty miss out on experiences that most of us regard as normal and just part of growing up. They don’t go on school trips; can’t invite friends round for tea; and can’t afford a holiday away from home.

“Troublingly, children in low-income families are being hit hard by the government’s tax and benefits changes. The Institute of Fiscal Studies predicts that between 2010 and 2020, rather than ending child poverty, the government’s welfare reform programme will mean that some 1.1 million more children live in poverty.”