CHILD poverty in Clackmannanshire is continuing to rise, according to new data from the Department of Work and Pensions.

Data covering the last 10 years revealed that the proportion of children under 16 living in a relatively low income family had risen by 11.3 percentage points since 2014/15.

A closer look at the findings showed that child poverty in Clacks sat at 16 per cent in 2014/15, but has since almost doubled to 27.3 per cent in 2022/23.

The figures showed a steady increase in child poverty in the Wee County, increasing to 22.9 per cent pre-pandemic before rising to the level it stands at just now.

A household is considered to be in relative poverty if its income is below 60 per cent of the current median average.

Clackmannanshire was the second highest on the list of Scottish local authorities, behind only Glasgow with 33.5 per cent of children in poverty.

At the other end of the list, only 10.3 per cent of children were reported to be in poverty in East Renfrewshire.

Responding to the figures, the UK Government said it was helping people on the lowest incomes with a range of measures, including boosting benefits and pensions, extending the Household Support Fund and introducing the biggest ever rise to the National Living Wage.

Councillor Ellen Forson, leader of Clackmannanshire Council, commented: “It is utterly unacceptable that in 2024, so many children continue to live in poverty.

“That is why tackling poverty is a top priority for Clackmannanshire Council and we have chosen to invest in mitigations to help reduce the cost of living for our families and improve their wellbeing and capabilities.

“Recent economic modelling estimates that actions like these, and those taken by the Scottish Government, mean that child poverty rates will be 10 and seven percentage points lower than they would have been otherwise – and this is improving the lives of children in our local communities.”

As part of the council’s promise to lower child poverty rates in Clacks, they have launched several interventions over the past few years.

In 2022/23, 2092 pupils took up the Free School Meals (FSM) claim, which is over and above the entitlement for P1-P5.

Compared to national Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), Clackmannanshire rates are 15 per cent lower than locally operating RSL rents, with the greatest headroom in larger rent, supporting families.

The council has a number of contracts with Citizens Advice Bureau to provide income maximisation and financial health checks for individuals. This results in increased income for families, which saved Clackmannanshire residents £113,822 in 2022/23 alone.

The Clackmannanshire Child Wellbeing Partnership provided 216 children with free childcare including breakfast clubs, supper clubs, hot meals and childcare. This supported families to gain enhanced income, employment opportunities and training and reduced food costs.