A QUARTER of children in Scotland are living in poverty amid a 92% surge in demand for financial advice, a leading charity has said.

Children 1st launched an appeal for donations after new figures from the Scottish Government showed no improvement in the number of children living in poverty across the country.

It comes as the Child Poverty Action Group said the figures showed that whilst the rate of child poverty is stable in Scotland, it is rising in the rest of the UK.

The cost-of-living crisis has put additional pressure on families who are struggling to afford basics such as food and replacing necessities such as underwear and shoes which no longer fit, the charity said.

As well as funding support workers, it also has a financial wellbeing team to help with budgeting, benefit checks and applications, charitable grants and debt management – and said the workload had doubled for debt management in the past year.

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Demand for financial wellbeing advisers also surged, with more than 1500 children needing assistance since April 2023, an increase of 92% from April 2022.

In total, the financial wellbeing service has supported 925 families since April 2023, amid warnings that 85% of families were cutting back on using the oven or taking showers in a bid to save on bills.

The amount of debt managed on behalf of families has more than doubled, from more than £325k in 2022/23 to more than £813k since April 2023.

The charity said that it was able to help generate an extra £1.7 million for hard-up families, through unclaimed benefits, grants and budgeting since April 2023, doubling the amount generated in 2022-23.

‘It feels like we have won the lottery’

A mother who received support said she was now able to do grocery shopping regularly.

She said: “The support from Children 1st has been life changing. Now I can afford to buy regular shopping so we can have a healthier diet. I can buy Max and his brother things like boxers, socks, trainers and things that need regularly updating. It feels like we have won the lottery.”

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Mary Glasgow, chief executive of Children 1st said: “Children are in crisis. With one in four children living in poverty and no sign of improvement, the lasting impact on their safety, health and opportunities could be devastating.

“Our dedicated teams are seeing a huge increase in families turning to us for help.

“With the cost-of-living crisis and cuts to public services, there is nowhere else for them to go. We want to be able to help every child whose family turns to us for support, but we urgently need the public’s support to be able to respond to the continued crisis.”

Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville (below) said: “The Scottish Government is determined to tackle child poverty and the 2024-25 Budget includes a record £6.3 billion investment in social security.

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“Recent modelling estimates Scottish Government policies, including the game-changing Scottish Child Payment, will keep 100,000 children out of relative poverty in the coming year.

“It is estimated that the UK Government could lift a further 40,000 children out of poverty in Scotland this year if they made key changes to Universal Credit, such as scrapping the two-child limit. Their refusal to do so shows why we need to make all decisions over social security in Scotland.”

To donate to the Children 1st crisis appeal visit: www.children1st.org.uk/crisis.