In the second part of our special series looking at the impact of child poverty in Courier Country, Michael Alexander investigates the scale of the problem in Fife and visits Glenrothes where high child poverty levels are in stark contrast to the utopian vision of the ‘new town’ created 70 years ago.

It was King James VI who famously called the ancient Pictish Kingdom of Fife “a beggar’s mantle fringed with gold” – and in modern times, it is regarded by statisticians as being a microcosm of Scotland with its blend of rural, urban and former industrial lands.

But the latest End Child Poverty Coalition figures show very starkly just how divided Fife is with 15% of children in Cupar living in poverty compared to almost 40% just 17 miles down the road in Kirkcaldy East.

Across the Kingdom, 17,667 children (24.47%) are growing up in poverty – defined as being in a family living on less than 60% of median household income, or below £248 per week.

That figure rises to 36.62% in the former mining communities of Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss and 38.68% in Kirkcaldy East.

As Glenrothes prepares to mark its 70th anniversary later this year, the fact that 30.87% of its children are in poverty is a long way from the utopian ‘new town’ built on coal that was envisaged by its founders in 1948.

Yet amid limited well paid employment opportunities, recent redundancies and reports of widespread social security welfare sanctions, many residents, including the ‘working poor’ are not surprised.


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