Children’s charities say Scot poverty is ‘alarming’

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THE EFFECTS of tight economic times on Scots children have been condemned by officials at an Ayrshire-based children’s charity branch as latest surveys hint at more issues.

Children and families charity CHILDREN 1st, who run Ayrshire services from Irvine, this week urged parents fighting as a result of the rising cost of living to seek help.

Figures revealed 20 percent of couples are more likely to snap at their children because of money worries, while more than 25 per cent of Scots parents on low incomes say they are arguing more.

Recent research from Save the Children also revealed one in seven of Scotland’s poorest children regularly do not get enough to eat, and one in six children from struggling families have gone to bed hungry.

Bryan Evans, assistant director of CHILDREN 1st’s services in the West of Scotland, said everything possible must be done to keep children safe, secure, and happy.

“These figures are alarming but not surprising. Some of the families we work with at CHILDREN 1st, including in our Ayrshire services, really struggle to make ends meet and we see first hand the impact this can have on the children in the home,” he said.

He added: “As the cost of living rises and benefits are cut, there is a real risk that even more families could find themselves living in poverty.”

Douglas Hamilton, Save the Children’s head of Scotland said it was “truly appalling” that parents are struggling to earn enough to support their families.

“Children should not be bearing the brunt of the recession,” he said. “Poverty is tearing families apart, with parents buckling under the pressure of mounting bills and children seeing their parents argue more about money. It’s inexcusable that this is happening in Scotland in 2012”.

If parents are struggling to cope with financial issues, they can contact ParentLine Scotland on 08000 282233 or email parentlinescotland@children1st.org.uk for support and advice.

The service is not just for parents but also for kinship carers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings or anyone with a concern for a child. People can call about any problem, no matter how big or small.

Trained calltakers can listen and offer advice, support and information, and advise callers on where to go for more help.