A NEW bill is set to try and get a quarter of children in East Ayrshire out of poverty.

The Scottish government are now holding a consultation to try and put an end to child poverty.

The consultation is currently ongoing on proposals for a Child Poverty Bill and it will run until September 30.

The Bill will be introduced next year and is part of the approach to tackling poverty and inequality in Scotland.

After housing costs are taken into account more than a quarter of children in the East Ayrshire area are living in poverty.

Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock MP, Corri Wilson has pointed the finger at Westminster.

She said said: “At a time when child poverty is on the rise across the UK, I am delighted to see the Scottish Government take real action on this issue. This area has one of the highest rates of child poverty in Scotland, outside of Glasgow. It ruins childhoods and reduces life chances, and the tragic fact is that it is set to rise by 40 per cent in the next five years.

“The UK Government is failing utterly when it comes addressing the fact that low benefit levels inflict poverty on families and that the majority of children growing up poor in Scotland are living in families where parents are working, but not earning enough to pay the bills.

“We are making progress on narrowing the attainment gap and reducing health inequalities, but more needs to be done to tackle the causes of poverty as well as the symptoms. Whilst the UK Government chooses to sweep the issue of child poverty under the carpet, it is good to see the Scottish Government working with communities to find ways of improving people’s lives.”

Communities, Social Security and Equalities Secretary Angela Constance added: “It is absolutely heartbreaking that over a quarter of children in East Ayrshire are living in poverty. This is simply unacceptable in a modern, thriving country like Scotland which is why we need to take action to tackle child poverty.

“We are committed to giving children the best possible start in life and have offered parents more and better-paid jobs and greater security but we need to do more to address the deep-rooted inequalities that exist, especially in education and health.

“This consultation and the Bill takes our ambitions to the next level. It will allow us to refine our approach to tackling child poverty and ensure it best meets the needs of people in Scotland.

“We have already received some good responses but with so many people affected by poverty, I would encourage people and organisations in East Ayrshire to get involved.

“This consultation builds on other steps we have underway to tackle poverty and inequality through the Living Wage, free school meals, expanding early learning and childcare funding and addressing the attainment gap through the Scottish Attainment Fund.

“We will continue to work with local governments, businesses and the third sector, and most importantly with people who experience poverty, so we can strive towards equality of opportunity for everyone in Scotland and end the cycle of poverty once and for all.”