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Child Poverty (Glasgow)

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 16 October 2007

5. What recent estimate he has made of the number of children in the City of Glasgow area living in poverty. (156893)

The Scottish measurement of poverty unfortunately does not provide numbers for households in each local authority. In Scotland, however, the number of children living in relative poverty, after housing costs, has fallen from 330,000 in 1998-99 to 250,000 in 2005-06—a drop of 80,000.

As a regular visitor to my constituency, does my right hon. Friend agree that the statistics should be measured by local authority area? Is he aware that almost 33,000 grants for clothes and shoes for schoolchildren were made to needy families in Glasgow last year? That is an unacceptably high figure in this day and age. Will he therefore agree as a matter of urgency to meet the leaders of Glasgow city council and the Scottish Executive to discuss what additional resources can be made available to lift many more Glasgow children out of poverty and to give them a better chance of a decent life in future?

As my hon. Friend points out, I have occasion to be in his constituency the odd time, and I also pass through it. I commend him on his campaigning work for decades against poverty among his constituents. I have over the past 10 years witnessed a transformation of his constituency. Housing has been generated in greater numbers than I have ever seen before in a lifetime of being in and around it. I can also think of at least two shopping centres that have been developed, and a significant number of employment opportunities have recently been developing there. However, my hon. Friend is right to point out that, despite all that improvement and all the support from this Government to help people out of poverty through a number of measures, there is still a hard core of poverty in his constituency. That is a result of decades of neglect, principally by the Conservatives.

I will be perfectly content to meet the leadership of Glasgow city council—I have done so on a number of occasions since I took up this post—and others, to ensure that resources and initiatives are appropriately directed into Glasgow, because it deserves the opportunity to continue to improve as it has done over the past decade.

Order. So that the House knows what I am doing, that was a closed question about the city of Glasgow. I call Mr. Mark Pritchard.