Poverty is a growing barrier to children’s equality according to includem’s most recent research report.

It Is Not a Choice! finds that poverty remains the biggest obstacle to implementing children’s rights in Scotland.

The report, which is based on the experiences of 83 families includem supported, looked at the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on families.

Findings showed that two out of three families interviewed struggled to put food on the table on a regular basis, up from just under half two years ago at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is particularly pronounced for families with social security as their main source of income with 76% reporting struggling to pay for food ‘about half the time’, ‘usually’ or ‘always’.

The proportion of families with worsened finances, debt, and mental and physical health in the last six months had increased since the survey was last conducted in 2020, at the height of COVID-19.

Other findings in the survey included that 94% of the families who took part had experienced worsening finances, with many having to take on new, or further debt to keep their head above water.

More than 70% of those questioned said they were struggling to meet the costs of energy, goods, food or rent at least ‘half the time’, ‘usually’ or ‘always’.

Commenting on the publication of the report, Martin Dorchester, Chief Executive of includem said:


‘The biggest breach of children’s rights that the includem team see every day is poverty.

‘Poverty affects every aspect of a child’s life – their learning and play, their physical and mental health and their future opportunities. For the children, young people, and families we support, their right to an adequate standard of living, a safe and warm place to live, good nutritious food, to benefit from social security, and to be supported as a family to develop in the best way possible, are not being met. For them the aspiration to make Scotland the “best place in the world to grow up” currently feels a long way off.’