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Martin Docherty-Hughes, MP for West Dunbartonshire, has welcomed new figures showing a reduction in the number of children in West Dunbartonshire living in poverty. 

Statistics released by the End Child Poverty Coalition show a fall in child poverty rates in West Dunbartonshire – down from 4189 (26.9%) in 2019/20 to 3549 (23.4%) in 2020/21. 

The research on poverty rates across the UK, carried out by Loughborough University, shows that Scotland has lower levels of child poverty than England or Wales. 

Local SNP MP Martin Docherty-Hughes said the figures show progress is being made, but cautioned that too many families are still having to rely on foodbanks due to welfare cuts implemented by the UK government. 

It comes as a new report from Citizens Advice on Universal Credit underlines the impact of the UK’s cost-of-living crisis – revealing that advice on Universal Credit sanctions has grown by 53% over 2021-22, advice on Universal Credit Budgeting Advances has risen by 25% over 2021-22 and the need for food banks has grown by almost a third (31%) since September 2021. 

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said: 

“Many families are struggling just now, but these figures showing a reduction in West Dunbartonshire’s child poverty rates are welcome. 

“The SNP Scottish Government is determined to lift children out of poverty, and has implemented ambitious policies including doubling the Scottish Child Payment, expanding free school meals, and delivering an increase in funded early learning and childcare. 

“Progress is being made. However, too many families and children are still having to rely on foodbanks due to callous decisions imposed by the Westminster government – such as the £1,040 cut to Universal Credit. 

“Scotland would be better placed to tackle child poverty with the full welfare and tax powers of a normal independent country.” 

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