New figures reveal 75% of children in poverty in parts of Kirkcaldy

Almost three-quarters of children part of the Linktown area of Kirkcaldy are living in poverty.

Thursday, 4th August 2022, 8:32 am

That damning statistic has sparked a new push for regent action before winter sets in.

Figures from the DWP and HMRC have revealed the extent of the issue in parts of the Lang Toun - and how poverty levels vary across the Kingdom.

Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister and Kirkcaldy MP warned: “We must act before rising heating bills in the winter months deprive children of the chance to be warm and to have the nutrition they need.”

The figures reveal the growing number of children in poverty in Kirkcaldy

The former politician is patron of the Cottage Centre in Kirkcaldy which is leading a ground-breaking project in association with Fife charities to help families in need by delivering tens of thousands of goods donated by Amazon.

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That has now on its way to becoming Fife’s single biggest charitable project as organisations from social work to churches, and a host of community groups work together to get the help to the people who need it most - and quickly.

The scope of the support needed has now been laid bare by the latest figures on poverty.

Gordon Brown at Kirkcaldy Foodbank at Linton Lane (Pic: Lisa Ferguson)

More than 75% of children in the Linktown Central area and more than 50% in Sinclairtown West, and Sinclairtown Central are in poverty.

Across the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, Ballingry South and Kelty West also have rates close to matching them with around 40% of children in poverty.

And concerns are growing that many more will fall into that same category as autumn turns to winter, and rocketing fuel bills start to hit home.

Mr Brown says the figures are likely an understatement because they cover 2020-21 - and families have since been hammered by the cost of living crisis and eyewatering rises in fuel bills, with more to come.

He fears there will be “an inevitable big rise in poverty and deprivation” over the winter months.

He has called on the Government to do more - and to do it now.

He has signed a letter from all churches and English Mayors calling for a fourth budget to relieve poverty before the fuel price rise in October.

Mr Brown said: “It is a measure of the gulf in life chances between different parts of Kirkcaldy that in some areas it is very low.

“Food banks and voluntary organisations are doing all they can but charity can only go so far and while charities and food banks in Kirkcaldy are doing a huge amount to help people in need they are being stretched to the limit.

“But when every second child is in poverty in some areas of Kirkcaldy, we need the government to do more urgently to help children in need.”

The data on poverty was published by the HMRC and DWP for the first time in March 2020 and updated in March 2022.

It revealed in detail the growing gap across the town.

Poverty levels in Pathhead north west were 38%, 36.6% for Fair Isle and 35% for Hayfield.

Those levels dropped further in Kirkcaldy Central (31%), Templehall (28%), Smeaton (26%) and Chapelhill/Torbain (25%)Just 4% of people in Longbraes are in poverty, in Newliston (9.2%) and Dunnikier North (8.5%).

Kirkcaldy’s figures are in contrast to neighbouring towns.

In Aberdour it is just 2.3%, and Kinghorn South 6.3%.