Publication - FOI/EIR release

Children living in poverty and food bank requests: FOI release

Published: 18 Sep 2019

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
18 Sep 2019
Children living in poverty and food bank requests: FOI release
FOI reference: FoI/19/02072
Date received: 5 Sep 2019
Date responded: 13 Sep 2019
Information requested

You asked for information on:

  •  How many children are currently living in poverty in Scotland - the past 5 years figures.
  •  Food bank requests for the last 5 years to see if they have risen.
  •  How many children are going to school without breakfast each day if known, and if so the past 5 years.
Response

For the first part of your request:

  •  How many children are currently living in poverty in Scotland - the past 5 years figures.

The information you have requested is published on the Scottish Government website at https://www.gov.scot/publications/poverty-income-inequality-scotland-2015-18/. Levels over the past five years can be found in the associated tables published on this link.

For ease of reference, child poverty levels from 2011-14 – 2015-18 (relative poverty, after housing costs) are set out below:

Three-year averages Percentage of children Number of children (000s)
2011-14 21% 210
2012-15 22% 220
2013-16 23% 230
2014-17 24% 230
2015-18 24% 240

Source: HBAI dataset, DWP.

For the second and third parts of your request:

  •  Food bank requests for the last 5 years to see if they have risen.
  •  How many children are going to school without breakfast each day if known, and if so the past 5 years.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested. The reasons why we don’t have the information are explained in the Annex to this letter.

Data on the number of three-day food parcels provided by the Trussell Trust food bank network is available on the Trussell Trust website: https://www.trusselltrust.org/news-and-blog/latest-stats/. The Trussell Trust provides an annual breakdown of the number of food parcels provided to children.

The Scottish Government monitors food insecurity in the Scottish Health Survey: https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-health-survey-2017-volume-1-main-report/. The Scottish Health Survey does not allow for monitoring of the prevalence of food insecurity amongst children.

The 2017 Scottish Health Survey showed that 8% of adults in Scotland worried about running out of food due to lack of money or other resources in the preceding 12 months. The prevalence of worrying about running out of food increased to 25% amongst adults with household incomes in the lowest quintile (less than £13,929 per year).

The first data on food insecurity was collected in the 2017 Scottish Health Survey so there is only one data point available. The next data will be published on 24th September.

Reasons for not providing information - Annex
The Scottish Government does not have the information

Section 17(1) of FOISA (information not held) requires the Scottish Government to notify you if it does not have the information you requested. The Scottish Government does not have the information you have asked for because the Scottish Government does not collect data on food bank use and the Scottish Health Survey does not allow for monitoring of food insecurity amongst children specifically.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested.

About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG