Tackling child poverty in Midlothian

A partnership approach to tackling local child poverty has been set out in a report jointly produced by Midlothian Council and NHS Lothian.

Action on poverty

With an estimated 25% of children in Midlothian living in poverty, the Local Child Poverty Action Report highlights NHS Lothian’s and the council’s commitment to reducing inequalities in outcomes over life in learning, health and economic circumstances.

Stark figures

The data on child poverty for Scotland as a whole and for Midlothian is stark. Nationally 230,000 children, or one in four are experiencing poverty. If current trends are allowed to continue, by 2030 an estimated 39% of Scottish children will be living in relative poverty with 31.6% living in absolute poverty.

Partnership working

In Midlothian, tackling child poverty is at the heart of partnership working and is reflected in the priorities of both The Single Midlothian Plan and Midlothian Children’s and Young Peoples Services Plan. The Local Child Poverty Action Plan builds on this commitment and outlines current activity and good practice as well as pointing to changes for the future which can play a part in addressing the root causes of child poverty.

Linked to priorities

“Reducing child poverty is centrally linked to our priorities and it is pleasing to see the shared commitment to this work evident in this action plan,” said Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services, Councillor Jim Muirhead. “The duty to deliver falls on the NHS and the council, but without the involvement of families, communities, third sector agencies and public sector partners, progress cannot be made.”

Incredible work

Alison McCallum, Director of Public Health at NHS Lothian said: “It is clear that public sector and community and voluntary organisations in Midlothian are doing incredible work already to ameliorate some of the worst excesses of poverty in our area, and we have a responsibility to continue to improve what we do.

Target resources

“We are committed to ensuring that local public sector decisions and resources target the causes of poverty as all the available evidence tells us that this will make the greatest difference to the life chances of children. Our local partnerships must use all our assets and talents efficiently, effectively and wisely.

Inventive and aspirational

"But to make a significant improvement, our decisions and policies about child poverty will need to be inventive and aspirational too. This first Local Child Poverty Action Report for Midlothian provides an overview of our current work and signals our priorities for the next few years.”

More information

This article has been produced to support Challenge Poverty Week 2019.

2 Oct 2019