ONE in four children in the Borders lives in poverty.

New figures released by the Scottish Government this week place the region as the eighth worst off local authority in the country - and well behind all of our neighbours.

Researchers based their findings on households which have an income beneath 70 per cent of the Scottish average after housing costs as well as being unable afford at least three items from a list of 22 basic necessities.

The statistics indicate that 24.4 per cent of children in the Scottish Borders live in families which have low incomes and suffer from material deprivation - meaning they can't afford a holiday, savings or to replace basic household items.

Researchers found children in Glasgow were the worst off with 41 per cent living in poverty.

But the Borders is also well above the national average of 20 per cent.

Local MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk John Lamont believes creating jobs is the key to improving the situation.

He told us: "These experimental statistics are certainly concerning, particularly as they show the number of families living in poverty is far too high in the Scottish Borders.

"What they also show is that work remains the best route out of poverty - only four per cent of families are at risk of poverty if both parents are working.

"That is why I support measures designed to encourage people in to work and increase the take home pay of those on low incomes.

"Measures like the UK Government's increase of the living wage, tax cuts for those on low incomes and the rolling out of universal credit will all mean work always pays and will help lift more families out of poverty.

"The best way to tackle the problem of low incomes is to ensure our economy is as strong as possible and bringing in well paid jobs."

The figures reveal that children in poverty is less of a problem in neighbouring authority areas.

Only eight per cent of children in East Lothian are affected by combined low income and material deprivation.

The figures also show that 18 per cent of youngsters in both Dumfries and Galloway and South Lanarkshire fall below the acceptable levels.

For child necessities, researchers found 21 per cent of children across Scotland did not have money to save, 20 per cent did not have a yearly holiday, five per cent could not access a computer and the internet for homework and two per cent did not have a winter coat.

In the list of basic necessities, researchers found 34 per cent of children live in families which do not have £500 to cover an unexpected, but necessary, expense; 21 per cent do not have enough money to repair or replace broken electrical goods; 17 per cent lack the cash to take part in sports and eight per cent are too poor to live in a damp-free home.