Warning over cost of living crisis as one in six children in Fife live in poverty

One in six children in Fife were living in poverty during the first full year of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest data.

Child poverty charities warn that the Government's response to the cost of living crisis risks reversing the fall in the number of children living below the breadline across the UK.

Department for Work and Pensions data shows 11,096 children aged under 16 were living in families with low incomes in 2020-21 – an estimated 17.3% of all youngsters in the area.

That was down from 21.3% the year before, but more than the 16.1% in 2014-15, when comparable figures were first published.

Posed pic: TSPL

Of the children aged 0-15 in poverty in Fife last year, 3,553 (32%) were aged below five.

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There were also 2,209 young people aged 16-19 in low income families.

Different figures – which take housing costs into account – show 3.9 million UK children were living in relative poverty in 2020-21.

This was down from 4.3 million the year before, but still above the 3.6 million in 2010-11 – a decade previously.

The Child Poverty Action Group said this fall shows the UK Government has the power to protect children from poverty.

But Alison Garnham, chief executive of the charity, said: "Many of the children who were lifted out of poverty by the £20 increase to Universal Credit have already been forced back over the brink by the Government’s actions.

"And as millions struggle with spiralling costs, we know the picture will worsen."

Hussain, director of policy and campaigns at Action for Children, said: "As prices continue to rise, more low-income parents who were just about managing could go under, with no tips, tricks or hacks left to stretch their income over the month.

"As well as the current cost of living crisis, many families with children are still reeling from October’s £20-a-week cut to Universal Credit."

In response, the Department for Work and Pensions said the data should be treated with caution, especially when compared with previous years, due to changes in data collection during lockdowns, which affected the sample size and composition.