Child poverty in Argyll and Bute is slowly falling according to new Scottish Government figures.
At a meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s Community Services Committee, members were presented with the second annual review of Argyll and Bute’s Child Poverty Action Plan for 2020/21, which showed that 3,000 children and young people in Argyll and Bute were experiencing child poverty in 2019/20 compared with 3,056 in 2018/19.
The review also applauds the determination of the people of Argyll and Bute to protect its families and communities during the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly The Caring for People Group.
Within the first few weeks of lockdown the group had registered 963 volunteers and the Third Sector Partnership, working on behalf of group, answered a staggering 4,080 different requests from the public over a four month period. Council, health, social care and education staff were also praised for stepping up, assuming new roles, longer hours and different ways of working.
The Council’s Policy Lead for Education, Councillor Yvonne McNeilly, said: “Covid has presented a huge number of challenges, particularly for our most vulnerable families, but poverty is not the fault of those experiencing it and we are fully committed to ensuring that no child is left behind.
“Although figures for 2019/20 show a drop in child poverty, we must not become complacent. Covid has resulted in a rise in the number of people claiming benefits and, together with our partners in the Child Poverty Action Group, we must continue to address this.
“The Child Poverty Action Plan sets out what action is being taken by the group across all areas to put an end to child poverty in Argyll and Bute. This includes things like supporting people back into work, offering home energy grants to help reduce heating bills, providing counselling in our schools to support health and wellbeing, and increased digital inclusion.
“We have a duty as corporate parents to help our children and young people to succeed and live a life without poverty, and we are fully committed to achieving this.”
Following approval of the second review of The Argyll and Bute Child Poverty Action Plan 2020/21, it will be sent to the Scottish Government.
Notes to editor:
The Argyll and Bute Child Poverty Action Group was formed in 2019 to oversee the implementation of the local Child Poverty plan, review it annually and find ways to best use existing resources and develop new initiatives.
The Argyll and Bute Child Poverty Action Group is a multi-agency group whose members include the Council Leader, Adult and Child Services, health managers and key people from employability, benefits, The Food Group, education, public health, housing, the Community Planning Partnership and the third sector.