Desperate parents expose the plight of Scotland's Child poverty
DECLAN doesn’t go out to play because neds have wrecked the swing parks.
Kailah’s mum can’t afford the heating, so she huddles with her mum and brother to keep warm.
And Arran’s mum and dad fear for his future in a tough neighbourhood where work is scarce and drink and drugs are rife.
These three kids, and a quarter of a million more, live every day with the grim reality of child poverty in Scotland – and the fear of a workless, empty future.
They are Scotland’s lost children, cursed before their lives have even started.
A study out yesterday revealed that in 37 council wards across the country, more than 30per cent of kids live in poverty.
The report by End Child Poverty in Scotland says half of Scotland’s councils have such blackspots in their areas.
And in one ward, Springburn in Glasgow, 52 per cent of children are below the poverty line.
The last official figures, from 2009-10, said 20 per cent of Scots children were in poverty.
And that number will be higher today, thanks to the squeeze on welfare spending and rising unemployment.
The GMB union revealed yesterday that nearly 21 per cent of Scots households have no work.
Campaigners reacted to the stark statistics by calling for more government help. Politicians argued over which party was to blame.
But for Declan, Kailah, Arran and their families, it was a day like any other – long on hardship and short on hope.
Declan’s only 18 months old, but his mum and dad fear his fate is already sealed.
He lives in Springburn, where decent families live surrounded by booze and drugs. There is little prospect of a job when he grows up.
Dad John, 28, asked: “What hope is there for the future, and for my son’s future? I worry about it all the time. There is no hope.
“It’s a sad state of affairs to bring a kid up in but I don’t have any choice. I wish I could afford a better life for him.
“We try our best for Declan, making sure he eats healthy food, and has a bit of fruit like a banana every day. But it’s expensive.”
John is self-employed, fitting solar panels two days a week. He earns £270 in a good week but in the last two weeks he’s had nothing.
The bank refused John a loan to tide the family over and he had to “practically beg” to get an overdraft.
“We’re really struggling,” he said. “I’d work 24/7 if I could get it but it’s not out there and it’s only going to get worse.
“I’d never sign on unless I was absolutely desperate. I have my pride and they make you feel like you’re worthless.”