One million Scots now in poverty

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Figures show poverty in Scotland has dramatically increased

1st July 2014 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

One million Scots are now living in poverty – with 30,000 more children joining the ranks of the poor than last year, according to official figures.

A report by the Scottish Government shows a sharp increase in people suffering relative poverty as welfare cuts kick-in and the costs of living rise.

In total 820,000 people were living in poverty in 2012/13 - 110,000 more than in 2011/12.

This rises to one million people in poverty when housing costs are taken into account. 

A household is defined as living in relative poverty if its income is less than 60 per cent of the average. 

And in-work poverty in Scotland also increased in 2012/13.    

By this measure some 220,000 children were living in poverty in 2012/13, an increase of 30,000 since 2012. 

Reduced entitlement to tax credits as well as families experiencing lower incomes overall were driving the increase, the report stated.

What is even more worrying is that 70% of the welfare cuts are still to come – Scotland will see its welfare budget reduced by over £6 billion

The report shows six in 10 children living in poverty were from households where at least one adult is in employment.

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said the figures were not just statistics but were people’s lives. 

He added: “It is unacceptable that over half of working age adults in poverty were in households where someone was in work, and 110,000 children in Scotland were living in households affected by in-work poverty.

“Governments at the UK and Scottish levels need to take action now to ensure that we don’t see further increases in the future.”

Scotland’s poorest households have seen the largest decrease in income – with a reduction of 8% in 2012/13 – the equivalent of £20 a week.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said the "safety and security of people's homes is under threat like never before and was a "perfect storm on their doorstep”.

“Set against the background of 155,100 households on council waiting lists and nearly 40,000 homelessness applications last year, it is clear that much more needs to be done to combat the root causes of poverty if we are to improve the prospects for everyone living in Scotland,” he added. 

And John Dickie, head of Child Poverty Action Group Scotland, said: “Behind these statistics are tens of thousands of children across Scotland who, despite their parent’s best efforts, will see their health undermined, education damaged and life chances thwarted unless government at every level acts with the utmost urgency.”

8th July 2014 by William Douglas

The average UK monthly income is 2496 euros; 60% of that is 1496 euros - the poverty line. 25 European countries have an average income that falls below that line. Are they all living in poverty? Or only those whose income is 60% of their monthly average?To be meaningful, we need a better measurement. That in turn would make it easier to address the problem. Currently no one really believes that one in five people we meet on the streets of Scotland are poverty stricken.