Report highlights on-going work in Perth and Kinross to tackle child poverty

Report highlights on-going work in Perth and Kinross to tackle child poverty

A new report has highlighted the ongoing range of work being done to tackle child poverty in Perth and Kinross.

The 5th Local Child Poverty Action Report (LCPAR) by Perth & Kinross Council and NHS Tayside says that child poverty rates in Perth and Kinross have remained stable between 2017 and 2022, suggesting that mitigation measures taken during the COVID-19 pandemic had a positive effect.

Legislation requires Perth & Kinross Council and NHS Tayside to publish a report each year, providing an update on our Local Child Poverty Action Plan.

The council has established a Child Poverty Working Group (CPWG) involving its officers and NHS Tayside staff which oversees the progress and delivery of actions. An Anti-Poverty Task Force has also been set-up to strengthen collaborative working with community partners and provide independent scrutiny of the anti-poverty work being carried out.

The new report says it is estimated that 5,914 children (21.9%) are living in relative poverty – a number that has remained fairly stable over the last five years despite the impact of the pandemic.

The LCPAR highlights many actions have been taken in the last year to tackle child poverty and the cost-of-living crisis, including:

  • £6.3 million was committed to supporting struggling families, an increase of over £1m from the previous year
  • £420,000 was allocated to support a cost-of-living strategy which saw the opening of warm spaces in communities, the distribution of warm home packs and support for community food projects.
  • 78 parents are being supported to find work, and 30 who are currently in work are being supported to sustain their employment
  • 279 referrals were made to the Council’s Welfare Rights Team from family health services. The average financial gain for people from these referrals was £1,175.
  • The Welfare Rights Team put an additional £6.5m in social security benefits into the pockets of local people. The team also administered PKCs Financial Insecurity Fund totalling £520,000 which helped families in crisis.
  • 926 council tenants experiencing financial difficulties benefitted from income maximisation through our Financial Inclusion Project by partners Perth Citizens Advice Bureau.
  • The Community Planning Partnership developed a Town Centre Action Plan for Coupar Angus with local residents. The Plan has a strong focus on tackling poverty and removing barriers to employment.
  • 7,700 school meals are provided each day, and the take-up for free school meals now stands at 65% for primary schools and 45% for secondaries.

The report will be considered by councillors on the Housing and Social Wellbeing Committee on Wednesday 29th November.

Committee convener, Councillor Tom McEwan, said: “Tackling poverty is a key strategic priority of Perth & Kinross Council and our partners. In the face of serious challenges child poverty rates in Perth and Kinross have shown a degree of stability, and this report highlights the range of innovative work that has already had a positive impact on the lives of children and their families.

“Whilst the work we are doing is undoubtedly helping many children and families there is no room for complacency. Too many children in Perth and Kinross are still living in poverty and although as a council we will ever be able to solve this problem alone, we know that there is much more work to be done. The ongoing cost-of-living crisis has yet to be factored into data gathering and so our commitment and efforts to do whatever we can to tackle child poverty in the long-term will remain determined and focussed.

“There are no quick fixes, but we will continue to collaborate across sectors, leveraging resources and expertise to ensure that every child has the opportunity to thrive, free from the burdens of poverty.”

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