THE Scottish Government must speed up efforts to tackle child poverty if it is to meet targets leading campaigners have warned.

As Challenge Poverty Week begins today the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said that lower housing costs are the reason why child poverty levels are lower in Scotland than the rest of the UK.

READ MORE: New child payment for thousands of families

The latest figures in the annual report from the respected anti-poverty organisation shows three are one million people in Scotland in poverty.

The figures include 240,000 children, 640,000 working-age adults and 150,000 pensioners.

Jim McCormick, associate director Scotland at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “As a country we have rightly made a bold commitment to loosen the grip of poverty on children across Scotland.

“Over the last two decades, cheaper rents and a larger social rented sector in Scotland have been key to unlocking opportunities for families to achieve a decent life. But this success is showing signs of unravelling and cannot be taken for granted.

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“The recent announcement of the Scottish Child Payment shows what can be achieved when we are bolder in our thinking and accept that only large-scale action will ease the pressure facing families trapped in poverty. While this new payment will start to turn the tide, it will not by itself be enough to enable every child to break free from poverty.

“As we mark Challenge Poverty Week, it is vital that ministers in Holyrood match their ambitious targets to solve poverty with the scale of action on housing, work and social security needed to make this a reality.”

The Scottish child payment of £10 a week for eligible families is due to be implemented by 2022

More than 200 organisations in Scotland are taking part in Challenge Poverty Week including NHS Health Scotland, Scottish Prison Service and the British Association for Social Workers.

Peter Kelly, Director of The Poverty Alliance, organisers of Challenge Poverty week, said: “All across Scotland people are coming together to highlight the problem of poverty and show what we can do to overcome the barriers that lock so many people in poverty.

“By boosting people’s incomes and reducing the cost of living we can redesign our economy to better reflect the values of compassion and justice we all share.”