An additional 60,000 Scottish children will be living in poverty in five years time, if current trends continue, according to a new report.

Targets set by the Scottish Government on reducing child poverty are set to be missed by a large margin, with figures currently rising rather than falling, according to the Resolution Foundation.

The thinktank says welfare reforms brought in at Westminster are the biggest problem and warns actions being taken by Scottish ministers are "not remotely large enough" to counteract the effect of £12bn in cuts UK-wide.

However it says the Scottish Government could be more radical in looking to mitigate the impact of benefit cuts.

The Child Poverty Action Group said childhoods blighted by poverty were "slipping by" and demanded immediate action.

Analysis by the Foundation shows that a recent rise in child poverty is set to continue over the next five years, with an additional 60,000 children living in poverty after housing costs are taken into account. Currently the Scottish Government says 230,000 children are in families affected by relative poverty.

The Scottish Government is committed under the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act to reducing relative child poverty to below 18 per cent by 2024 and to under 10 per cent by 2031.

But after large falls in the 2000s, the figures have been rising since 2012 and the study says 29 per cent of children across Scotland will be classed as living in poverty by 2024.

The targets set out in the Act will be missed by more than 100,000 children according to these estimates.

The report blames UK-wide benefit policies for pushing up poverty in Scotland, as well the rest of the UK, including a four-year cash freeze on working age benefits, and the two child limit on welfare payouts. While Scottish Government policies including the Best Start Grant, the (Disability-related) Carers’ Allowance Supplement and more generous Council Tax Support were not taken into account in the Foundation's analysis, it says they are "dwarfed in scale" by the Westminster reforms. The cash freeze alone - announced by former chancellor George Osborne in 2015 - will save the treasury £1.8bn in 2019-20.

The report says the Scottish government's new ‘Income Supplement’, due to be introduced by 2022, could help to limit rises in, child poverty or even reduce it, if it is sufficiently ambitious. And it says Scottish ministers are right to have set targets, even if it struggles to meet them. The UK Government scrapped child poverty targets in 2016.

The Foundation also called for a wider public debate about how support for low-income families should be funded, while warning that half of Mr Osborne's 2015 cuts are yet to take effect.

Adam Corlett, Senior Economic Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Child poverty across Scotland risks reaching a 20-year high by 2023. This would mean a further 60,000 children across Scotland falling below the poverty line, and the Scottish government missing its target to reduce child poverty by over 100,000 children.

“This worrying rise in poverty is almost entirely driven by UK-wide decisions, such as the £12bn worth of working-age benefits cuts. But that doesn’t mean policy makers in Scotland are powerless to respond.

“If the Scottish government is to meet its ambitious – and welcome – child poverty reduction targets, it will need to implement much more radical changes to social security than it has done to date.”

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group in Scotland called for immediate action from the Scottish Govedrnment and claimed children could not afford to wait. A £5 increase in child benefit could make an immediate impact, he claimed.

“The Scottish Government’s timetable for a new income supplement fails to reflect the extraordinary increase in child poverty that the country faces," he said.

"Children in poverty really can’t wait until 2022 and beyond for the Scottish Parliament to use its powers to boost family incomes in a substantive way. As time slips by childhoods are slipping by, childhoods that continue to be blighted by the damage poverty wreaks.

"Action is needed now. An immediate £5 top up to child benefit could, for example, lift thousands of children out of poverty and protect many more from hardship.”

Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for the Eradication of Poverty and Inequality Elaine Smith said predictions of a 20 year high in child poverty levels were "simply horrifying".

“Labour supported establishing child poverty reduction targets but those targets need to be backed up by government action – instead the SNP government has slashed support for local services and refused to bring in an income supplement for the poorest until 2022," she said. “The poorest cannot afford to wait that long."