Scotland’s child poverty targets are at risk of being missed after new figures showed that more than 260,000 children are currently living in households below the poverty line.

The statistics from the Scottish Government show that there has been little recent change in poverty levels for children and pensioners while poverty for working-age adults is slightly higher than in recent years.

The 2017 Child Poverty Act passed by Holyrood set a target of reducing the percentage of children living in relative poverty from 24% to below 10% by 2030, or from around 230,000 children to fewer than 100,000.

The law also set an interim target of 18%, or around 180,000 children, in relative poverty by 2023/24.

But according to the new figures which cover 2020 to it is sitting at 24%.

READ MORE: Poverty crisis is destroying the lives of Scotland’s kids

However, the government pointed out that the figures do not show the full impact of the rollout of the Scottish child payment and its increase to £25 per week in November 2022.

Meanwhile, new statistics from the DWP showed that across the UK, 4.3 million children, 30% of all UK children, were in poverty - up from 3.6 million in 2010-11.

Commenting on the figures John Dickie, Director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) said: "In a rich country these scandalous levels of child poverty are utterly unacceptable and a stark reminder how vital it is that the Scottish Government ratchets up its focus on child poverty.

“The First Minister really can’t rely on the current policy package to make the progress needed to meet legally binding child poverty targets.

“At the very, very least he needs to deliver on his commitment to increase the Scottish child payment to £30 per week, rethink cuts to affordable housing and ensure childcare and employment support are adequately funded.

“At the same time the UK government must stop its poverty producing policies like the two-child limit. We need every level of government working to end child poverty.”

Philip Whyte, director of IPPR Scotland, said the figures must be a “wakeup call" for ministers.

He added: “Despite repeated statements that tackling child poverty is a government priority, the rhetoric simply doesn’t match the reality.

“The numbers of children living in poverty has gone up by 20,000 in the last year – with more than a quarter of a million now trapped there.

“While these figures won’t yet capture the full impact of the Scottish Child Payment, they do show that all hopes are being pinned on that one policy – but it simply can’t do all the heavy lifting without further significant investment, and that can’t come at the expense of other equally ‘game changing’ efforts across other areas, including childcare, housing, and employment.”

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Professor Stephen Sinclair, the chair of the Poverty and Inequality Commission, described the statistics as "disappointing.2

He said they showed that "more work is needed from the Scottish Government to ensure it meets Scotland’s statutory child poverty targets and its wider aims of reducing poverty for all."

The poverty czar added: “The increase in value and extension of the Scottish Child Payment has made a positive difference to the circumstances of hundreds of thousands of children, but this alone has not been enough to keep Scotland on track towards the 2030 targets.

“The Commission is concerned about the lack of progress.

"The Scottish Government must take a hard look at its policies and commit the level of funding required to deliver the targets, as it is clear that its performance does not match its ambition.

"The Commission calls upon the Scottish Government and all parties which signed up to the targets to work together to make the wider changes that Scotland needs to meet the targets.”

Scottish Labour Social Justice spokesperson Paul O’Kane said poverty in Scotland was a "national scandal."

"It shames both of our governments that no progress has been made tackling it," he added.

“There is no mission more important than tackling child poverty, and the SNP has betrayed a generation of children by failing to do so.

“The SNP is not only failing in its moral duty to lift children out of poverty, but it is clearly on track to breach its legal duties too.

“More working age people are falling into poverty as a result of SNP and Tory failure to create jobs and boost wages."

READ MORE: ‘It's intolerable' The true horror of child poverty in modern Scotland

Social Justice Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “We are doing everything in our powers and limited budget to tackle poverty in Scotland, and today’s statistics reinforce the urgency of that mission.

“Modelling published last month estimates that Scottish Government policies will keep 100,000 children out of relative poverty in 2024-25.

“Against the backdrop of UK government austerity, the Scottish Government continues to allocate £3 billion a year to policies which will help to tackle poverty and mitigate the impact of the cost of living crisis on households.

"This includes increasing Scottish Child Payment to £26.70 a week from 1 April – making the value almost £1400 per eligible child per year.

“An estimated 40,000 children could be lifted out of poverty in Scotland immediately if the UK Government made key changes to Universal Credit.

"That includes abolishing the two child limit and introducing an ‘essentials guarantee’ to ensure payments cover the cost of food, household bills and transport.”