Scots want fairer distribution of wealth

Beggar edinburgh

Public backing for a new system of wealth distribution is growing, says a new report

27th April 2017 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

Wealth should be distributed more equally in Scotland as research shows income inequality is on the rise.

New research by Oxfam Scotland shows the public supports stronger political action to narrow the gap.

The report, Building A More Equal Scotland, includes Oxfam’s recommendations for the design of the Poverty and Inequality Commission, the body which is being set up by the Scottish Government in 2017-18.

Oxfam also recommends the commission is fully independent of the Scottish Government.

Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “With nearly one in five people still living in poverty in Scotland, it cannot be right for the richest 1% to own more wealth than the poorest 50% put together and for income to be so unevenly shared too.

“It is very encouraging to see such strong public support for greater action to tackle inequality, as well as significant cross-party concern.

"The Scottish Government’s commitment to create a Poverty and Inequality Commission reflects this and is a hugely positive move which presents a significant opportunity for progress.

“However, the commission must be designed for maximum impact. We urge the Scottish Government to ensure it is fully independent, scrutinises existing and proposed policies and focuses on exploring and recommending new policies to narrow the economic divide.”

The report also sets out the significant inequalities between women and men, young and old, as well as between different geographic areas of Scotland.

David Eiser, research fellow at the Fraser of Allander Institute and co-author of the report, said: “Income inequality in Scotland has returned to high levels last seen in the 1990s and, without action, the gap is forecast to widen further.

“Many areas of policy which could be used to tackle inequality are in spheres of competence that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament, either wholly or in part.

"This includes education, childcare, housing, economic development policy, but also increasingly elements of taxation and social security.”

2nd May 2017 by Rose Burn

Before the recent Budget, the Labour Party argued for an increase in the highest rate of income tax for this very reason - and the SNP disagreed and kept rates unchanged.