A rising tide of poverty threatens to swamp even more children and families unless radical and urgent action is taken warns a leading campaign group.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said Scotland went into the coronavirus crisis with unacceptably high poverty levels which are only getting worse.

Its Poverty in Scotland 2020 report shows that Glasgow is one of the areas with the biggest increase in Universal Credit claimants, as the number of individuals in receipt of the benefit in Scotland has nearly doubled to more than 470,000 since January.

The foundation said political parties must commit to bold action on job training, affordable housing and an income lifeline for families at next year’s Holyrood election.

Instead of meeting targets to reduce child poverty the report states there are around 230,000 children living in poverty in Scotland, an increase in the last five years.

The increase in Universal Credit claims is from people both in and out of work.

It points to the effects of the coronavirus crisis on already low income families like fewer hours worked, reduced job security in sectors including retail and wholesale, manufacturing and entertainment.

The number of couples with children claiming Universal credit doubled. The biggest increases in Universal Credit claims have occurred in Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire and North Ayrshire.

Jim McCormick, Associate Director Scotland of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “We went into the pandemic with unacceptable levels of poverty. The resulting economic storm risks blowing us even further off course. People and places already at greatest risk of poverty face tougher times ahead unless we are bolder in our approach to recovery.

“Now is a crucial moment for Scotland. The decisions we make will determine whether we reach our ambitious child poverty targets by the middle of the next parliament. As the shape of our economy changes, it is vital to do all we can to protect people’s jobs, homes and living standards, so more families are not pulled into poverty.”

The report has been published to mark the start of Challenge Poverty Week 2020.