Showing posts with label child poverty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label child poverty. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

What holiday?

Low-income families should be given help to cope with increased emotional and financial pressures over the school holidays, a Child Poverty Action Group report, commissioned by Glasgow Life - an arms-length body of Glasgow City Council, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the Glasgow Centre for Population Health said. Some families felt the strain when free school meals were not available. This could be exacerbated when working hours were cut for childcare reasons and families resorted to borrowing. The research highlighted the problems posed by the extra costs of feeding children over school holiday periods when free school lunches were no longer available. Lack of affordable childcare, leading to reduced working hours was also identified as an issue. The report states that subsidised travel and free activities and lunches could help struggling families.

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland, said "The pressures low-income families face are magnified during school holidays," he said. "It's harder for parents to juggle work and childcare and it's harder to feed, clothe and keep children warm, never mind give them the kind of holiday experience better off families take for granted.” 

Many families also reported borrowing money during holidays to pay for the additional costs of heating and clothing. Parents also spoke of the guilt they experienced at not being able to meet children's expectations.

One parent told researchers: "You are living just to survive not to actually live a valued life. You just have to live through each day and thank God it's one less."

Another added "It's worse at Christmas when it's cold and I have to put more money in my gas to heat my house. When the kids are in school I don't use my heating and I save it for them coming home." 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Hunger Lesson for Teachers

Child poverty in Scotland is now so severe that teachers are being sent advice on how to spot if a child in their class is going hungry, amid evidence that the problem is having an increasingly serious impact on education. The new guidance, which will be distributed to schools and colleges across Scotland next week, warns that the issue of hunger among pupils is “moving from the exceptional to the more commonplace” as families struggle to make ends meet. 

The advice has been drawn up by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest teaching union, after a survey of 300 schools and colleges suggested that teachers are increasingly having to help underfed pupils.

“Pupils may appear pale, fatigued, irritable or lacking in concentration, or complain of headaches or feeling unwell,” it states. “While there can be other reasons underlying such signs, for a growing number of children and young people in our schools and colleges today, the reason will be hunger.”

More than 222,000 children in Scotland are currently described as being in poverty, but the EIS warned that the number would rise if the Government’s “austerity agenda” continued. “Schools and colleges are part of society, and so are not immune from the problems of that wider society,” said the union’s general secretary Larry Flanagan.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Poverty is Child Abuse

The Child Poverty Action Group calculates that 220,000 children live in poverty in Scotland. That’s one in five children, but we know that in some areas, that figure is one in three. We know that in some areas out of a class of 30 children, ten of them can be living in poverty.

Living in poverty puts health, wellness and the ability to do well at school at risk. It’s not just a case of not having nice clothes and not being able to go on holidays. We are dealing with families who rely on food banks and emergency grants, not to get over a difficult time, but to survive. We are living in a society now where GPs routinely ask people, when they can find no other cause for their pain or illness, if they have enough to eat.

Living in poverty creates long-term difficulties for these children, who grow up at greater risk of mental ill health, chronic illness, unemployment and homelessness; and so the cycle continues.

 The Institute of Fiscals studies acknowledges that poverty increased quickly between 2011-12 and 2014-15 and further states that it will continue to increase with the introduction of Universal Credit, the latest iteration of the welfare reforms. It’s a well-acknowledged fact that only around 40 per cent of the cuts have so far impacted and that 2015-16 is to be the harshest year to date. And literally, we haven’t see the half of it yet. Many of the people are fearful for what the future holds, some are looking at a further reduction in benefit of £70 per child. Can you imagine the despair of parents who are fully aware of being unable to meet the basic needs of their children? Can you imagine the impact of the indignity of living in long-term poverty? And most importantly, can you imagine the impact on children’s confidence and self-worth?

Most people think that child protection is about abuse. The common perception is that if an issue is deemed to be a child protection matter, then the child is being physically or sexually abused or neglected. The image that the public often come up with is a child whose parents are drug addicts or alcoholics. A single mother with a violent partner. When you mention child protection, one thing people are unlikely to think of is poverty. Poverty is a child protection issue and with the increase in the numbers of families living in poverty it is becoming more and more of a problem in Scotland. If you don’t have enough money to buy food, your child goes hungry. If you don’t have enough money to heat your home and buy clothes, your child will be cold. If you don’t have enough money to pay your rent, your child will be homeless. This is child abuse committed by capitalism. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Being poor means poor intelligence

Economic health disparities are a reality. In two separate studies, researchers found that experiencing poverty in early childhood is linked to smaller brain size and less efficient processing of certain sensory information. Exposure to early life adversity should be considered no less toxic than exposure to lead, alcohol or cocaine. Exposure to poverty in early childhood negatively affects brain development, but good-quality caregiving may help offset this effect.

In one study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, children who grew up in impoverished households showed smaller white and grey matter in their brains compared with those who had more means — these make up the density of nerve connections between different parts of the brain. The less wealthy kids also developed smaller hippocampus and amygdala regions, which are involved in regulating attention, memory and emotions.

According to the researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the smaller brain regions may be due to the increased stress and anxiety that these children experience growing up in families where finances are tight, and therefore parental support and interaction with children suffers.  Researchers found poor parents reacted with less patience and were “less able to nurture the children.”
"Parents can be less emotionally responsive for a whole host of reasons. They may work two jobs or regularly find themselves trying to scrounge together money for food," explained Luby. "Perhaps they live in an unsafe environment. They may be facing many stresses, and some don't have the capacity to invest in supportive parenting as much as parents who don't have to live in the midst of those adverse circumstances."

Only half the children living in poverty reach what is defined as "a good level of development" by the time they are five, compared with two-thirds of the others. "Good quality early-years provision can help improve outcomes, especially for the most disadvantaged," a report says. "However,childcare is expensive in the UK, and many people cannot afford to utilise it or go back to work after having children.
In the second study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, scientists at Northwestern University, in Illinois, connected lower maternal education, a common symptom of poverty, to poor processing of sound in the brains of children raised in lower-resource environments. The researchers found that adolescents whose mothers had less education were more likely to register more varied and noisier nerve responses when hearing speech than those whose mothers had more schooling. That response, according to previous work, could translate into poor reading skills. The scientific team suspects that the lack of constant verbal interaction between mother and child could be one factor in the noisier brain responses to speech, since such back-and-forth can prime a still-developing brain to isolate and recognize speech more efficiently. Other data established that children in higher-income families are exposed to 30 million more words than those in lower-income families where parents have less education.

The good news, however, is that the effects may be reversible. Families don’t chose poverty, but changes in care-giving, especially during early childhood, could avoid some of the physical changes the scientists measured. Socialism can expect a lot more bright children.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Facts of the Day

An estimated 36,367 children in the Glasgow City Council area are living below the poverty line, according to the research.

Statistics from the Scottish Government last month revealed 710,000 people north of the border - including 150,000 children - were living in relative poverty in 2011-12.

The number of people sleeping rough on the streets of Scotland exceeds 1,700. The highest numbers of rough sleepers are in the Edinburgh and Dundee council areas, Edinburgh had 363 rough sleeper cases and Dundee had 97.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Being poor = poor reading

Scotland had the worst record of the 32 nations taking part in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) international PISA reading tests. Bright boys from poorer backgrounds in Scotland’s schools are nearly three years behind their rich, clever male classmates in reading, a study has suggested.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hungry children in Scotland

Some children may be going hungry over the school holidays because their parents cannot afford to feed them properly, the Church of Scotland has warned.
"There is the real possibility that many children from all parts of Scotland will spend the summer break not getting enough to eat," said the Rev Sally Foster-Fulton Convener of the Church and Society Council. "People may jokingly mock school dinners but they provide essential basic nutrition and for many children they are the one substantial cooked meal they will get."
It was recently reported that the number of people using food banks has more than doubled in Scotland in the past year. The Trussell Trust said 14,318 people were helped during 2012-13; up 5726 on the previous year.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Poor Scots and rich ones

In 2011/12, there were 710,000 (14%) Scots in poor households of which 420,000 working age adults, 140,000 pensioners and 150,000 children were living in relative poverty, 80,000 children were living with combined material deprivation and low income.

Within the last two years, Scottish incomes have gone down from an average of £461 per week to £436.

Welfare measures including changes to eligibility for child tax credits and working tax credits which could, on average, mean that households will become around £700 per year worse off.

Child poverty levels are expected to soar in Scotland over the next few years by at least 50,000, taking the total number of children who live in families that struggle daily to provide to over 280,000.

Ian Marchant, CEO of  Scottish Power had received £1.45m in 2011.The company's annual report showed he earned a basic salary of £870,000, up by £30,000. He also received shares worth more than £1m from the firm's long-term bonus plan. His pension was worth £680,000 - a total package of more than £2.63m 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Weans in need

One in five children is living in poverty in parts of almost every local council area in Scotland. Nearly all of Scotland’s local authorities – 27 out of 32 – have council wards where more than 20 per cent of their children live in poverty, according to the Campaign to End Child Poverty. Children were classed as being in poverty if their family is forced to live on 60 per cent or less of median UK income.

Children in the Glasgow North East constituency have 43 per cent classed as poor. A third of children live in poverty in Scotland’s biggest city of Glasgow, while Dundee had more than a quarter classed as poor. Edinburgh had almost one in five children in poverty, with a similar figure for Fife, East Ayrshire and North Lanarkshire.

 Recent forecasts indicate that at least 65,000 more children in Scotland will be living below the breadline by the end of the decade – a far cry from promises made in 1999 to end child poverty by 2020.

Percentage of children living in poverty
By local authority

Aberdeenshire 9%
Angus 14%
Argyll & Bute 14%
Clackmannanshire 23%
Dumfries & Galloway 17%
Dundee City 26%
East Ayrshire 22%
East Dunbartonshire 10%
East Lothian 14%
East Renfrewshire 10%
Edinburgh, City of 19%
Western Isles 11%
Falkirk 17%
Fife 20%
Glasgow City 33%
Highland 15%
Inverclyde 24%
Midlothian 18%
Moray 12%
North Ayrshire 25%
North Lanarkshire 21%
Orkney Islands 8%

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tiny Tims

After the Celtic Tiger crash more than 18 per cent of children in the Irish Republic were at risk of, and almost 9 per cent were actually in, consistent poverty.

In 2009, the most up to date figures available, there were 233,192 people, or 5.5 per cent, in 'consistent poverty' and 579,819 people, or 14.1 per cent, 'at risk of poverty'. At risk means an income of €230 a week for an adult; consistent means unable to afford new clothes, meat or fish, or being unable to heat your home.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Learning to organise

Shining shoes, mining and herding animals among the many jobs done by an estimated 750,000 children between five and 17 in Bolivia. Rodrigo Medrano Calle is a Bolivian labour leader who meets and lobbies top government officials. That's not surprising in a country where pay is often low, working conditions harsh and unions play a powerful role in society. Rodrigo is just 14 years old, and his union's members are all children, the Bolivian Union of Child and Adolescent Workers (Unatsbo), which represents thousands of under-18s.  In Bolivia, its successes include organising pay rises for children who sell newspapers on the city streets of Potosí from 6 cents (½p) to 12 cents a paper, using negotiations and the threat of strikes. And it's not just a Bolivian phenomenon: there are similar organisations in Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru and Colombia.

Bolivia's informal economy includes everyone from bricklayers to farmers to shoeshiners, who work without contracts and set schedules. Many adults are part of this market, as are the great majority of child and adolescent workers. Child workers are in a legal blindspot: their work is prohibited and so they have very little defence if employers exploit them through long hours, physical or verbal abuse or refusing to pay a decent wage. "If you have to work, then you have to work exploited,"  Luz Rivera Daza, an adult counsellor for Unatsbo, said . "This just makes you more vulnerable."

In a country where poverty is widespread and the minimum wage is $150 a month, living expenses can overwhelm a family. Young workers seem to be everywhere. In the countryside they help their parents in the fields, herd sheep and llamas, or do the brutal work of mining or the sugar cane harvest.

Rodrigo believes that instead of attempting to end many forms of child and adolescent work, the goal should be ending exploitation by creating part-time, safe and better paying jobs for young people who want them. "Why should there be a minimum age if the work is voluntary?" he asked. "The work of a child or adolescent is not bad – it helps society, it helps a family, and it helps us grow as people."

In Marx's time, working class children spent the greater part of each day slaving in factories. Clearly, this had to cease immediately. However, Marx did not believe that all this time was better devoted to classroom learning. This, too, would stunt the child's development. Instead he favoured an education that "will in the case of every child over a given age, combine productive labor with instruction and gymnastics, not only as one of the methods of adding to the efficiency of production but as the only method of producing fully developed human beings." In capitalism, parents have considerable control over their children's health, education, work but, given the parents' own problems and limitations, this power is seldom used as well as it should. In Capital Marx quotes approvingly John Bellers a 17th century English writer, on this subject: "An idle learning is being little better than the learning of idleness... Labor being as proper for the body's health as eating is for its living; A childish silly employ... leaves the children's minds silly." In the Gotha Programme Marx writes that "technical instruction, both theoretical and practical, will take its proper place in working class schools." (our emphasis)

Friday, November 02, 2012

Poverty means failing in school

Children who live in poverty in Scotland are already failing before school starts, a new study from Save the Children report suggested. Youngsters from poorer backgrounds were twice as likely to start primary school with developmental difficulties.

 The study found poorer children were twice as likely to have emotional and physical development difficulties. They were also twice as likely to have problems with communication and expressing themselves or making themselves understood. The report's authors said poorer youngsters were 50% more likely to face difficulties mixing with other children and were 40% more likely to be behind in their cognitive development - the ability to gain knowledge and learn. Figures from later in the education system showed that these children begin their school life behind their classmates and never catch up.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Child poverty according to their teachers

Growing numbers of children are turning up at school malnourished, dirty and struggling to concentrate because of soaring poverty levels in the recession, a study suggests. 

Almost six-in-10 teachers reported encountering pupils who are left hungry through lack of food at least once a week, it was revealed. In some cases, "scavenger" children have been caught finishing scraps of food or using school as a place to warm up and eat a decent meal, according to the study by the Prince's Trust and the Times Educational Supplement.

The study – based on interviews with 515 secondary school teachers- found  39 per cent of teachers found hungry pupils every day, rising to 57 per cent who witnessed it on a weekly basis. 16 per cent of teachers had seen a pupil suffering from malnutrition or showing signs of not eating enough every day, with a further 13 per cent encountering this weekly. Nearly 66 per centcame across students who did not have clean clothes on a weekly basis, with 40 per cent saying they witnessed this every day.

 Earlier this month the Association of Teachers and Lecturers warned that many children are going hungry in school. Research by the union also found that many teachers have seen a rise in the number of children on free meals at their school.

 Mary Bousted, ATL general secretary, said: "Too few politicians really understand what it is about poverty that affects children's learning. Forget about executive stress, try spending the week knowing that the food will run out before any more money comes in. Under that kind of pressure, no wonder relationships get strained, youngsters are deprived of sleep, often suffer emotional damage and cannot concentrate in school or remember what they have learnt."



Thursday, April 26, 2012

Women in Poverty

Divorce and desertion are pushing Scottish women into poverty and debt spirals much faster than their male counterparts according to research. Women account for over 90% of lone parents in Scotland and 60% of unpaid carers. There are some lone parent families struggling by on less than half of the UK's median income, which is considered to be about GBP7,000 a year. Working tax credits have been reduced.  Lone parents with a child aged seven or over now cannot get income support either and childcare contributions have been cut by 10%.

Women's charity Engender Niki Kandirikirira, Executive Director, said, "We know how many children, pensioners and households are in poverty but it's the statistics themselves that reveal why the numbers are proving so hard to bring down. At no point do we recognise the gendered nature of poverty. Measures to tackle poverty will fail to deliver until we recognise that gender inequality is in itself a root cause."

Socialist Courier would say that this is not the root cause but an exacerbating major contributing factor ino the cause of poverty. It is being a member of the working class regardless of gender that leads to poverty. 
 Save the Children issued warnings recently that the numbers of children living in severe poverty in Scotland will rise rapidly due to a lack of jobs. In Glasgow 18 people chase every vacancy compared to an average of 6 in England. However, even children with working parents are at high risk of poverty - the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported in 2010 that half of children living in poverty belong to working families.

"There's only so long cash-strapped families can hold out with these sorts of figures to live on,"
said the spokesperson. "This is how chronic debt begins and increasing costs of living ends up driving desperate families into the arms of credit card lenders, pay day loan companies and loan sharks."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

poor education

15 year-old children at the bottom of the class are so far behind they are performing “as if they were 10 years old”, a report handed to MSPs has claimed. The paper, written by local government experts, concluded that Scotland has the highest gap between top and bottom in schools of anywhere in western Europe.

It confirms previous studies by international bodies which have also claimed that low achievers from poor families are “slipping through the net” in the classroom.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

scottish child poverty

Children in one in five Scottish families live in poverty, campaigners have warned, with fears that number is set to rise. The highest levels of child poverty are in Glasgow, where in some parts every other child lives in a family struggling to put food on the table or pay heating bills.

John Dickie, spokesman for Scottish members of the Campaign to End Child Poverty said “It is shameful that in almost every part of our country there are children who are missing out and seeing their future life chances seriously harmed. An increasing number of children, particularly in Scotland, are living in families without paid work and we are deeply concerned about the effect that rising unemployment is having on child poverty."

Friday, November 04, 2011

Fact for Today

Every day in Scotland 60 children become homeless – that is nearly 22,000 a year.

Friday, September 02, 2011

poverty trap for kids

Poverty trap for children as fifth of Scottish families jobless. The number of under-16s living in households without adults in employment rose to 145,000 (15.8 per cent of under- 16s) this year from 141,000 (15.3 per cent) last year. In Scotland, there were 359,000 workless households in June.

Mr Peter Kelly, the director of the Glasgow-based Poverty Alliance, said that if people were going into part-time or low-paid work, their earnings would not be enough to make a huge difference to their lives. "Sometimes you have to question the extent to which giving someone a job can lift them out of the low-income bracket. We want to see people moving into jobs that lift them out of poverty."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

the price of kids

The cost of raising a child in Scotland until their 21st birthday has risen to £203,000 – or £26.50 a day – a report has revealed. The study shows the cost of bringing up a child has risen by 50% since the firms’s first Cost of A Child Report in 2003. It has gone up by an inflation-busting 4.5%, from £194,337, in the last year alone.

Childcare and education – excluding private school fees – account for the biggest costs to parents. Childcare is estimated cost £67,430 over the course of a child’s upbringing. Other regular expenses that have risen in cost at a rate higher than inflation include clothing, which is up 11.7% compared to last year, holidays (up 6.4%), food (up 5.9%) and personal care items, such as toiletries, which have risen by 5.1%. Overall childcare costs are £84 for 25 hours a week – more than half the gross average part-time weekly earnings of £160. In addition, Government support to parents to fund childcare is going down – from 80% to 70%.

"Three-quarters of parents said they were having to economise because of the financial pressures they were under, with nearly half making savings on holidays.” Satwat Rehman, director of One Parent Families Scotland, said those on lower incomes were particularly vulnerable to rising costs. "The cost of basics are going up and the greatest impact is on parents who are at the greatest risk of poverty.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

old and young suffer

Save the Children said its research revealed there are 90,000 children in Scotland - or one in 10 - living in what they term the most "severe poverty" and the charity said they feared that number would rise "dramatically" due to Scots having the lowest chance of finding work in the UK.

In January this year, Glasgow had Scotland's highest proportion of youngsters in severe poverty at 18%, followed by North Ayrshire, West Dunbartonshire and Clackmannanshire at 14%, and Dundee at 12%.

The charity said Glasgow had almost 18 people chasing every job vacancy, and that in West Dunbartonshire there are more than 36 people vying for every job.

Douglas Hamilton, Save the Children's head of Scotland, said: "Urgent action is required in Scotland's most deprived areas or we will end up with a lost generation. Some of these children will grow up living in households with no working adults - they have never seen a parent or grandparent work and this becomes the norm. People don't see a route out of poverty or this cycle of worklessness "

Meanwhile, Pensioners should lose a series of benefits, including free TV licences, free bus travel and the winter fuel allowance, to ease the financial squeeze on younger people, according to the think-tank., the Institute of Economic Affairs.

David Manion, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: “Suggesting that all older people enjoy a ‘privileged’ economic position shows total ignorance of the reality of life for the majority of over-65s. In fact the UK has one of the lowest state pensions in Europe, with 1.8 million pensioners living in poverty and many more surviving just above the breadline.”

Yet Elinor McKenzie, chair of the Scottish Pensioners’ Forum, said: “Every year around 3000 older people in Scotland die over the winter months from cold-related illnesses."