News ID: 205546
Published: 0848 GMT December 04, 2017

Scottish families with disabled kids at risk of living in poverty

Scottish families with disabled kids at risk of living in poverty

Three areas of Scotland have some of the highest percentages of children with disabilities in the UK and they and their families often face living in deprivation, a charity has warned.

Disabled children and their families in Dundee, Inverclyde and Glasgow face financial struggles as parents often have to give up work to become carers, said the charity Contact, wrote.

Its report, ‘Caring More Than Most’, reveals that Scotland (4.8 percent), Northern Ireland (5.5 percent) and Wales (4.4 percent) have the highest percentage of disabled children and England at 3.7 per cent the lowest.

However there are big regional variations, with children with disabilities making up six percent of the total in Dundee, 5.9 percent in Inverclyde and 5.8 percent in Glasgow, while the figure is 3.8 percent in both East Lothian and East Dunbartonshire.

Contact said disabled children and their families often face major disadvantages.

Disabled children are twice as likely to live in families where there is no parent in paid work (34 percent compared to 17 percent of non-disabled children). This may be partly because one in five parent carers have to leave jobs to manage their caring responsibilities.

Disabled children are more likely to live in households with no access to a car, in a home with no central heating and in overcrowded accommodation.

Meanwhile more than one-third of disabled children live in lone-parent households (compared with 24 percent of other children).

Miriam Gwynne from Hamilton is among those parents who have had to give up work, due to the needs of her nine-year-old twins Isaac and Naomi, who are both disabled.

“I have a degree and have run my own business in the past but even part time work is now out of the question.

“I have no option but to rely on benefits as I need to be here for both my husband and the children,” she said.

“After-school care is not an option for children like mine and no employer would be able to give me all the time I need to attend to the needs of those I care for. Financially it is a huge struggle especially at times like Christmas.”

Contact is calling for help for the families of children with disabilities to be made a priority when the Scottish Government sets new child poverty targets.

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