NORTH Ayrshire Council chiefs insist they are going all out to win the war against child poverty.

Plans have been agreed by cabinet to establish a Child Poverty Board as it emerged child poverty in North Ayrshire for 2019/20 was at 27.9 per cent – 3.6 per cent higher than the national average.

And council leader Marie Burns said a “step-change” was needed in the approach to make the plans work.

Key actions for the forthcoming year include:

  • Establishing a new board in North Ayrshire to tackle child poverty, chaired by the Leader of the Council.
  • Supporting parents to progress to or improve employment.
  • Giving additional support to vulnerable families and children impacted by fuel poverty.
  • Prioritisation of mental health and wellbeing in schools and communities.

Council leader Marie Burns said: “In North Ayrshire, we are fully committed to becoming a fairer and more equal society.

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“We focus our work on tackling inequalities and creating a society where no one lives in poverty, where the economy is inclusive and where everyone has the same life chances to live fulfilling and healthy lives.

“Our new annual Child Poverty Action Plan is key to our commitment to mitigating the current and lasting impacts of the pandemic and to demonstrating our determination to reduce child poverty in the longer term in a climate of a cost-of-living crisis with rising food and fuel costs.

“Notable achievements this year include collaborative approaches to continue to address the poverty related attainment gap.

“Innovative ways of tackling the rising cost of home energy for residents have been developed.

“However, the stark reality is that child poverty is still increasing in North Ayrshire. To accomplish our aspirations we need a step-change in how we address it.”