THE Scottish Government is being urged to “act now” by campaigners, as child poverty remains “stubbornly” high across Scotland.

More than one in five children in Scotland live in poverty despite increases to Universal Credit, End Child Poverty Coalition has found.

Research by Loughborough University in partnership with End Child Poverty Coalition covering 2020/21 shows Glasgow City (29.4%) and North Ayrshire (24.7%) are at the highest levels.

Despite praising ministers for Scottish child payment to £25 by the end of the year, the coalition urged bridging payments to be doubled.

The coalition believes the crisis may be due to the cost of living crisis, and is urging Westminster to keep benefits in line with inflation permanently, as the temporary credit uplift during Covid saw child poverty figures drop significantly.

Despite Scotland having lower levels of child poverty than England and Wales, the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act requires the Scottish Government to ensure less than 18% of children are living in poverty by 2023/24.

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Ed Pybus of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, which forms part of the coalition, said: “The figures show just how big a difference investment in social security can make, and how important the Scottish Government’s new Scottish child payment is and will continue to be if Scotland is to end the scandal of children living in poverty.

“Progress is being made, but, as low-income families struggling to cope with spiralling prices know all too well, there is no room for complacency, and we need every level of government to do its best to meet Scotland’s child poverty targets.”

To reach the 2030 target of less than 10%, experts warn the Scottish Government would need “significant” commitment.

And the End Child Poverty Coalition believes that local government intervention may help achieve this goal.

Pybus said: “Here in Scotland, we urge newly elected councillors to use every tool at their disposal to boost family incomes and reduce the costs families face.

“That means using local powers to deliver more cash support to families, support decent jobs – especially women and those affected by disability – and improve access to high quality, free and accessible childcare.

“Finally, the Scottish Government should act now to double bridging payments in advance of the full roll out of the Scottish child payment to ensure school aged children get the same support as the under sixes who are already benefitting.”