A NEW report has lifted the lid on the poverty gap between Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire.

Figures released by the Scottish Government provide estimates of the proportion of children in combined low income and material deprivation by council area and household characteristics.

The statistics suggest that 15.7 per cent of children in Renfrewshire are living with limited resources – almost double the figure for East Renfrewshire, where only eight per cent are deemed likely to face going without basic necessities.

East Renfrewshire boasts the second lowest level of children living in low income families, behind only Aberdeenshire, where the rate is five per cent.

The national average is 20 per cent.

East Renfrewshire was highlighted as one of only five council areas in Scotland where children are less likely to live with limited resources.

Between 2014 and 2016, a total of 2,424 families with children across Scotland were asked about their income and what basic necessities they couldn’t afford.

A total of 65 households in Renfrewshire took part, along with 73 in East Renfrewshire.

From the responses, it was estimated how many children lived in families with limited resources, where in Scotland these families lived and how they were made up.

The questions included ‘Do you have a damp-free home and do you have access to £500 to cover an unexpected, but necessary, expense?’

Others were ‘Does your child have access to a computer and internet for homework and does your child have a warm winter coat?

Tom Arthur, MSP for Renfrewshire South, which covers both Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, described the disparity between the two areas as “tragic.”

He said: “Child poverty is utterly unacceptable, which is why the Scottish Government is absolutely committed to improving the life chances of our young people, through targeted investment in our schools and legal targets on tackling poverty.

“The difference in life chances between areas often close together is tragic. No child should have their life chances dictated by their postcode.

“Poverty has been a systemic problem for decades. Tackling the immense challenge is an ambition all of Scotland – be that national and local government, health boards, businesses, the third sector or others – must work together to overcome.

“We’re absolutely committed to tackling the deep-rooted causes of child poverty and addressing the needs of those living in poverty today.”

Maike Waldmann, author of the report, added: “These statistics should help local authorities and other partners think about how much of a problem child material deprivation is in their areas.

“And it will help them prioritise actions they should be including in their local child poverty plans.

“This should help reduce deprivation locally, which will in turn help make progress towards meeting national targets.”