Commenting on the latest statistics published by End Child Poverty today, Kerry McKenzie, NHS Health Scotland’s Organisational Lead for Child Poverty, said:
“As an organisation committed to reducing health inequalities in Scotland, these levels of child poverty are a real concern. The healthy development of our children leads to higher educational attainment, positive social development and better health. It’s not right that this is severely compromised by living and growing up in poverty. If we want a Scotland where everyone has an equal opportunity to live longer, healthier lives, we cannot accept child poverty as inevitable. The good news though, is that it is not. The evidence is clear that tackling poverty is possible and requires action on the drivers of poverty by increasing income and reducing costs for families with children.
“More than two out of three children living in poverty in Scotland are in working households. In-work poverty can be tackled by increasing wage levels, creating sustainable employment opportunities and providing suitable, affordable childcare. Providing financial support through fair social security can also influence health positively. We’ve shown this in our recent report ‘Working and Hurting’.
“We are working with national partners to support local authorities and health boards to produce their joint child poverty action reports; advocating for the scaling up of effective practice such as supporting the development of formal referral pathways to money/welfare advice services in health care settings, and working with education services to face up to child poverty, including to take action on reducing cost barriers in schools.
“Collective action like this is essential if we are to eradicate child poverty and improve overall population health in Scotland.”
For more information on our work on early years, and child poverty visit our web pages on child poverty.