REGARDLESS of the results of tomorrow’s (Thursday) Fife Council elections, a leading charity has urged those elected to take action on Levenmouth’s child poverty problem.
Save the Children has reminded politicians of recent figures which show that, in the Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss areas, up to 40 per cent of children are living below the bread line.
The charity has launched a manifesto of its own to coincide with the council elections which it has titled, ‘No Child Born Without a Chance’ and wants youngsters to be given an opportunity to fulfil their potential.
Claire Telfer, the charity’s policy and advocacy manager for Scotland, said: “Save the Children is calling for all candidates to put tackling child poverty at the heart of their campaigns by doing whatever they can to maximise incomes for the poorest families and improve children’s life chances.
“There can be no greater priority in these elections than making children’s lives better.
“We cannot allow deprivation to continue to blight childhoods.
“The election is a big opportunity for all political forces in Scotland to turn the tide.
“For children in Scotland to thrive, poverty has to be consigned to history forever”
The charity has outlined four key calls in its own manifesto.
These include ensuring that the Scottish living wage of £7.20 per hour is paid.
Currently, over 18 per cent of workers in Fife earn below £7 per hour.
It also wants better out-of-school provision, programmes to involve parents in deprived areas in their children’s education, the delivery of 15 hours per week of free pre-school education for three and four-year-olds and 15 hours of free early learning for the poorest two-year-olds.
The charity estimates that by the end of this decade, over a third of children in Scotland will be living in poverty.
Save the Children states that the education of poorer children should be top priority for local government – which councillors ultimately have the power to ensure.
Children from deprived backgrounds fall behind other children as early as three years old – before school begins.
Just 17 per cent of the poorest young people in Fife go to university, compared to an average of 35 per cent across the country. Sadly 13 per cent of the poorest young people become unemployed immediately after leaving school.