£32M cost of child poverty in Borders

Photographer-Ian Georgeson-07921 567360'Case study, Child poverty, can be used for stock, child care, hardship, benefits
Photographer-Ian Georgeson-07921 567360'Case study, Child poverty, can be used for stock, child care, hardship, benefits

A report which shows child poverty costs the Borders £32million has been described by Conservative MP David Mundell as “deeply distressing”.

The findings of the Child Poverty Group paper categorises almost 3,000 kids as being impoverished in the Scottish Borders Council region.

Within the two UK parliament constituencies, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk had 2,600 children living in poverty at an annual cost of £28million, while in the Tweeddale section of Mr Mundell’s seat, there are 337 destitute youngsters at a price to society of £4million.

Mr Mundell said politicians of all parties need to do more to tackle the problem.

He told The Southern: “It is unacceptable for children to be living in poverty in 21st century Britain and that is why the UK Government is committed to eliminating child poverty by 2020.

“Here in Tweeddale that means working with the Scottish Government and Scottish Borders Council to make sure that children and families are getting the support they are entitled to.

“I also believe we need to do more locally to find community-based solutions which help break the cycle of poverty and ensure that schools, community groups and local charities have the opportunity to get involved and provide additional support wherever possible.”

Alison Garnham, chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, added: “It’s right that we should do so in our local communities too.

“Every council is required by law to have a local child poverty strategy, and the good news is that reducing child poverty benefits everyone by cutting the costs to local authority services and boosting the local economy through improved skills and qualifications for school leavers.

“We are publishing a report to help guide authorities on the challenges they face and the actions they can take to protect families in their area against poverty and many residents will be shocked to hear that so many local children are living in poverty.

“We hope that local campaigners will be able to use our report to encourage their local councillors to do more to end child poverty in their area.”

Glasgow had the highest poverty costs in Scotland of £395million per year, while Shetland and Orkney both had the lowest at £4million.