Fife child poverty: New figures reveal stark rise in numbers in one constituency

One in four children in the Kirkcaldy constituency are now in poverty - a figure far worse than the Fife average.

Wednesday, 20th July 2022, 11:59 am

The data has prompted new calls to the Scottish and UK Governments to tackle the growing cost of living crisis impacting on the most vulnerable families.

Gordon Brown, former Kirkcaldy MP and Prime Minister, said the latest figures for the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency were “disastrous and unfair.”

Alex Rowley MSP branded them “ unacceptable.”

Stock pic: John Devlin

Their comments came as the latest figures revealed that there were a total of 4346 children living in poverty in 2021 in the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath areas - figures that are 'worse' than the Fife average of 22%.

Across the Kingdom, Fife the total is 13,863 children in poverty.

Mr Brown warned the figure for 2022 will already be higher as more families are plunged further into poverty.

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He said for the typical family food and energy bills alone will rise from £6000 to £8500 in the course of the year- a £2500 rise, £50 a week, and the Government’s cash is covering only half this increase with nothing at all to cover the other rises in weekly bills.

For a typical family with two children the £325 being sent out this week by the UK government is just £1.50 a week per family member – covering only a fraction of the 14% increase in living costs that the worst-off families are predicted to face in the year to October.

The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act requires the Scottish Government to ensure fewer than 18% of children are living in poverty by 2023/24, but, said Mr Brown, it is on course to achieving less than 10% by 2030.

He added: “We have great charities and voluntary organisations and many food banks here in Fife who are being stretched to the limits.

“But while local people are so generous, we are asking people who have a little to give to people who have nothing and charity can take us only so far.

“We have great citizens advice services, but they are near the limits of how much they can advise people will save money by claiming unclaimed benefits or switching gas and electricity suppliers.

“It means that there are now food banks, bedding banks, clothes banks, baby banks, and fuel banks to help people get through.

“I dread to think what will happen in the autumn as poverty rises yet again with higher heating and food bills.

“It is now time to mount a campaign to end child poverty.”Mr Rowley, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife said the figures should spark an immediate response from political leaders.

He added: “The levels of child poverty across Fife are unacceptable and I hope these latest figures will galvanise all politicians to work together to demand the action needed to help.

“A large percentage of those impacted will have parents who are in work but are being paid such low wages they just cannot get by.

“This growing crisis must be addressed and whilst at the local level groups and individuals are doing immense work to help people, we need government action to support people get through this coming winter.

“It is incredible that we are the generation that will leave things much worse for the next.”