AN AYRSHIRE MSP Katy Clark has hit out at the "appalling" levels of child poverty across North Ayrshire.

The Labour politician said recent figures showing North Ayrshire has the second highest child poverty rate in Scotland should be a "wake up call".

A report released by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation revealed that 28 per cent of children in North Ayrshire were living in poverty.

The only part of Scotland with a worse figure was Glasgow, where the figure stands at 32 per cent.

Ms Clark said: “The scale of child poverty in this country, including here in North Ayrshire, is appalling.

"The number one priority for any government should to alleviate the hardship of its most vulnerable citizens, so these figures point to immense failure on the part of those in power.

“Initiatives such as the Scottish Child Payment are welcome, but they only serve to mitigate the social harm caused by years of Tory austerity.

"On top of that, the Scottish Government has underfunded key public services, slashed housing budgets and failed to explore the scope for redistributive taxation of wealth and land.

“These figures must be another wake-up call that the present system is broken. We have the means to end child poverty, but we need the political will.”