AN ACTION plan has been prepared as new statistics reveal one in five children in the Borders are living in what is deemed to be poverty.

Figures for 2021 show that the gross weekly full-time workplace-based wage in the Borders was £96 less a week than the average for Scotland and was the second lowest of the 32 Scottish local authority areas.

Now the current cost-of-living crisis is affecting the area with more and more families struggling to heat their homes or feed their children.

Added to that backdrop, 29 per cent of adults in the Borders have no savings, according to research in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic and the current cost-of-living crisis.

The percentage of children living in relative low income households is dependent on where they live – from 7.9 per cent in the Tweeddale West ward to 23 per cent in the Hawick and Denholm ward.

On Thursday, September 8), members of the council’s Community Planning Strategy Board were recommended to endorse a child poverty action plan for 2022/23.

As part of the strategy the full council last month endorsed a financial support package of £1.2m to provide an immediate allocation of a £100 warm clothing payment to each child entitled to either free meals or clothing grants. This is set to benefit 2,350 children locally.

Twenty families have engaged with the Intensive Family Support Service over the last year and as a result five adults have entered employment.

Additionally, £85,000 from the council’s Financial Hardship Fund has been dispersed to local foodbanks, food growing projects, community cafes and the Low and Slow pilot project.

In a report to the committee, Jenni Craig, the council’s director of resilient communities, outlined some of the further action planned over the next 12 months.

She said: “Highlights include ensuring that Early Learning Childcare (ELC) is free at the point of delivery for parents, that summer camps are run, allowing parents to be able to work a full day and to develop a plan to transform whole family support services using funding from the Whole Family Wellbeing Fund.”