Council chiefs are eager to make sure eradicating child poverty remains “front and centre” in their work as rates continue to rise steadily in Renfrewshire.

The local authority has acknowledged “many families” are still struggling financially because of the stubborn “longevity” of the cost-of-living crisis.

But its leadership believes it can “positively impact” lives and support people into work as figures show around one in five children are living in poverty.

That’s according to the draft child poverty local action report 2023/24, which will be considered by elected members at Wednesday’s leadership board.

In its foreword, chief executive Alan Russell said: “This has been another challenging year for families.

“Although inflation is coming down and energy prices have reduced slightly, the cost of living remains much higher than in recent years.

“The longevity of the cost-of-living crisis means that many families are struggling financially and we recognise the impact of this is much greater for low-income households.

“Despite the long-term focus and investment into tackling child poverty, child poverty in Renfrewshire has been rising steadily for a number of years, with the most recent figures telling us that around one in five children in Renfrewshire are living in poverty.

“We know we can positively impact the lives of our families and support them into work and better-paid jobs; help them to maximise their income; work with young people so they attain more at school; and support the mental health of families and children.

“This report shows the ways we do this across services and partners through working collaboratively.”

Recent figures show the rate of child poverty in Renfrewshire after housing costs is 20.4 per cent – an increase of 2.4 per cent since 2019/20, but slightly lower than the Scottish average of 21.3 per cent.

However, the figures are not consistent across wards, with Renfrew South and Gallowhill holding the highest at 36.4 per cent and Bishopton, Bridge of Weir and Langbank the lowest at nine per cent.

The report highlighted the council’s work in helping residents into employment and maximising support through initiatives such as free school breakfasts in areas with high levels of child poverty, advice services and the Winter Connections programme.

One of the council’s priorities has been listening to people with lived experience, with the Fairer Renfrewshire panel subsequently influencing policy in holiday provision and school meal debt.

In 2024/25, it plans to work with the panel on communications and health and wellbeing and encourage engagement between its members, council services and the health and social care partnership to gain better insight of the needs of low-income families.

Mr Russell added: “We continue to be ambitious for our families and through listening to lived experience through community engagement and our Fairer Renfrewshire Panel we are working hard to ensure our services are truly person-centred and that the eradication of child poverty is front and centre of all we do.”