Katy Clark MP has written to North Ayrshire Council, seeking an opportunity to discuss how she could help the local authority to improve its child poverty strategy.
Ms Clark’s approach came after a national charity, the Child Poverty Action Group, revealed that almost a quarter (24%) of children in North Ayrshire are now living in relative poverty. Worse still was the figure for Saltcoats and Stevenston, where 35% of young people live in households considered to be in relative poverty.
Professor Peter Townsend, a leading authority on UK poverty, has defined ‘realtive poverty’ as being where a person’s resources “are so seriously below those commanded by the average individual or family that they are, in effect, excluded from ordinary living patterns, customs and activities”.
Katy Clark told the3towns, “These figures from the Child Poverty Action Group are deeply troubling. The last Labour Government made real progress in reducing child poverty, taking 2.3 million out of absolute poverty between 1997 and 2010. Unfortunately, the austerity measures of the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition Government are now reversing this progress and the latest figures show an increase of 300,000 children living in absolute poverty.”
The Labour MP for North Ayrshire & Arran said the “alarming statistics” from the Child Poverty Action Group were testament to the failure of the UK Government, adding, “It cannot be acceptable that in 2013 nearly one-in-four children in North Ayrshire and Arran live in relative poverty. It simply cannot be allowed to continue and we now need to redouble our efforts to stamp out child poverty once and for all.”