Laid bare: the scale of disadvantage in Scotland

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Study shows how often Scots face difficulties 

25th June 2019 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

One in 28 adults experience extreme disadvantage in Scotland, a new study has found.

Research commissioned by the Robertson Trust, one of the country’s biggest charitable funders, found that almost 200,000 adults in Scotland experience at least one form of extreme disadvantage annually.

It looks at challenges facing charitable services and the public sector, and highlights the “mismatch” between the multiple disadvantages people face, and the fact that services are often set up to address “single issues”.

It notes that people are often not able to access services until they have reached crisis point and highlights the necessity for services to become more consistent and tailored to each person.

Christine Walker, head of social impact at The Robertson Trust, said: “These findings resonate with much of what The Robertson Trust has seen emerge around the routes into severe and multiple disadvantage from our work in criminal justice and, more recently, our early intervention projects with young people and women.”

Researchers found numerous examples of people using the criminal justice service as a “safety net” and committing offences and/or requesting custodial services to gain access to support and “safe places” within the criminal justice system after being routinely failed by other services.

The report found that each year in Scotland 5,700 adults experience three “core” forms of severe and multiple disadvantage (homelessness, offending and substance dependency).

Researchers discovered that 28,800 people experience two out of these three while 156,700 experience one of the three.

Higher rates of extreme disadvantage are found in urban areas compared with rural areas.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Reducing inequalities and deprivation remains one of the biggest challenges we face.

“Such issues are a symptom of wider social inequalities.

“That’s why we’re taking action to address the underlying causes such as tackling poverty, delivering fair wages, supporting families, and improving the provision of alcohol and drug treatment services.”