As part of its current 'Silver Spoon' campaign against child poverty (pictured above), Bar- nardo's has voiced concern that more than a quarter of families' childcare needs were going unmet. It said many parents were prevented from working by disability or the cost of childcare.
Around 320,000 children across Scotland currently survive in families living on less than the poverty line of 242 a week, Barnardo's said.
Children born into poverty were more likely to suffer ill health, leave school without qualifications, be unemployed, become homeless and have teenage pregnancies.
Tam Baillie, assistant director of policy at Barnardo's Scotland, said, 'The most recent statistics show that 30 per cent of Scottish children are living in poverty. A number of issues, such as insufficient benefit levels and unmet childcare needs, continue to have a significant impact on poor families.
'Despite increased nursery places for three- and four-year-olds, over a quarter of Scotland's parents report unmet childcare needs. Inequalities in the childcare system particularly affect poor families in rural areas and those with disabled children.'
Barnardo's Scotland has presented the Scottish Executive with a number of demands, including: ensure that funding is based on families' needs rather than on where they live; establish a minimum income for all those raising children; ensure that long-term mainstream funding is available alongside short-term funding initiatives for sustainable impact; work with the UK government to ensure welfare-to-work policies fit with the benefits system so people can move off benefits and into work without being worse off; and ensure all mainstream programmes and targeted initiatives have a focus on disabled children and young people.
The charity also found that most people in Scotland were unaware child poverty was so commonplace. In a survey for Barnardo's by NOP, 82 per cent of those questioned said they did not know a third of children live in poverty.
and 80 per cent were shocked to hear this fact.
More than a quarter of Scots think there are no children living in poverty in their area. Scotland has one of the higher rates of child poverty in the UK, although the highest is inner London at 48 per cent.
'The simple fact is that many parents cannot afford to work because of the extra costs that are incurred.'