More than one in five children in Perth and Kinross live in poverty, new research finds

More than one in five children in Perth and Kinross now live in poverty, according to a new study.

Data shows that the number of the region’s youth living below the poverty line increased 2.6 percent in five years to 22.6 percent.

During the period measured on 2014/15 the total stood at 4,869 and by the end of 2019/20 it had increased to 5,515.

The research, conducted by Loughborough University on behalf of the End Child Poverty coalition, estimates the number of children living below 60% of the median income after housing costs, by Scottish local authorities.

The study sheds light on the scale of the challenge facing local governments, with 24% of Scottish children living in poverty.

The Scottish government has committed to a target of less than 18% by 2023/24 and less than 10% by 2030.

Eleanor Kelleher, project coordinator for Perth and Kinross Foodbank, said the growing number of people in difficulty “doesn’t surprise me at all”.

“We are seeing a lot of families coming in and the Trussell Trust had figures released a few weeks ago,” she added.

“The numbers have increased and we know that one of the major aspects of poverty is food poverty.

“We started seven and a half years ago and the need for our service has increased by about 10 to 15 percent year over year.

“Last year was an anomaly that the numbers did not increase during the pandemic.

Eleanor Kelleher, project coordinator for Perth and Kinross Foodbank, said the group has seen an increase in the number of people using the service.

“But we saw the establishment of other community groups that helped people, which leveled the numbers.

“What we know is that a large number of people still need help.

“Over the past five years, we have again seen a huge demand for our services.”

Annie McCormack is the president of the Kinross-based Broke Not Broken Collective, a charity working to combat the effects of poverty in the region. The group operates as a food bank by Kinross and offers additional voluntary support to its customers.

“Child poverty is inextricably linked with food insecurity, in-work poverty and fuel poverty,” said Annie.

“Overall, over 50% of the clients we provide food and support to are children.

“The only way to lift families and children out of poverty is to make sure they can afford to live, earn enough wages and benefits to allow people to pay their bills, taking into account the cost of rents, cost of heating. , the cost of food.

“No one wants to use a food bank to feed their children and a food package will not solve child poverty.

“This is really why the ‘cash first’ approach is essential.

“We regularly provide vouchers for families instead of a food package, so they can buy exactly what they need.

“Being able to buy your food allows choice, a key ingredient in self-esteem and empowerment.

“Since we started as an active food bank, we can see a 77% increase in usage (2016 to 2019), but if you include last year, that climbs to a 747% increase.

“The only time food banks use downs or downs is if we have another project going on where we’re providing supermarket or clothing vouchers or helping with heating payments.

“In 2021, we should expect families to be able to afford enough nutritious food for themselves, but we are finding week after week that this is not the case.

“Over the past year, the team of volunteers distributed food packages to 2,234 households, totaling 6,085 people, including 3,425 children.

The Perth Citizens Advice Bureau is here to help residents in difficulty

“It has to be an integrated approach.

“Salaries, benefits, housing, fuel, food. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to eradicating poverty. “

A spokesperson for The Perth Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) added that every day staff “help families living in poverty or struggling with bills.”

“We have certainly seen how the pandemic has impacted many people, for example by reducing their working hours or their wages,” they said.

“We urge anyone who is having difficulty contacting their local Citizens Advice Office – we are here in Perth by phone, email and webchat.

“We’re here to help residents and can advise you on benefit entitlements and dealing with worrying debts.”

Local health boards and councils are also required to publish annual local child poverty action reports outlining actions taken at the local level to address child poverty.

Activists to end child poverty urge that local authorities, especially in economic development, housing and financial support, are all used to maximize family incomes and reduce costs faced by parents.

A spokesperson for the Perth and Kinross Council said low-paying and precarious jobs nationwide, and more recently COVID-19, have ‘all had a negative impact’ on the number of children and young people affected by poverty.

“We want to give every child in Perth and Kinross the best start in life, regardless of their family’s circumstances,” the spokesperson continued.

“For this reason, we continue with our partners to do all we can to tackle child poverty – just over one in five children experience poverty and deprivation in Perth and Kinross and that is clearly too much. .

“We are already working hard to ensure that 2,000 families affected by child poverty receive social assistance benefit checks to increase their income.

“In addition, we provide employability support for parents to help them find better paying and more stable jobs.

“This includes the creation of two hospitality and construction skills academies to help 200 parents and young people acquire the skills they need to find the jobs they want.

“At the same time, our affordable rents and investments in warm homes ensure that we are doing all we can to reduce the cost of living for affected families who are council tenants.

“Our schools are working with parents to help reduce the cost of the school day – we are providing more free school meals and running breakfast clubs, some schools have established school uniform clothing banks and the board has provided to hundreds of children laptops and access. to the Internet to support home learning.

“We are also supporting a Foodshare network and local food banks and community pantries to improve access to affordable food and reduce food waste.

“Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that no child ever goes hungry and that all children have access to safe and nutritious food.

“At the end of the day, we are all set to end child poverty in Perth and Kinross.”

● Perth and Kinross Foodbank can be contacted at [email protected] or 01738 626799.

● The PKC Community Helpline can be contacted on 03453 011100.

● Broke Not Broken can be contacted at

● For more information on Perth CAB, visit

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