Significant numbers still believe poverty is result of laziness
Research shows that negative perceptions of the poor are ingrained in Scottish society
A Scottish Government report found that while 98% of people think tackling child poverty is important, 25% don't think the government should redistribute wealth from the richest to the poorest.
The report also found that people tend to favour individualistic reasons for poverty, rather than recognising the wider societal causes with more people in Scotland than ever before thinking that poverty is a result of laziness.
Most worryingly of all, approximately a third of people thought that benefit claimants should feel at least somewhat ashamed to be in receipt of benefits.
The report coincides with the publication of the Poverty Alliance’s latest Scottish Anti-Poverty Review, Changing public attitudes to poverty.
It features contributions from Dr John McKendrick from Glasgow Caledonian University, the See Me Campaign, Ipsos Mori, Glasgow’s Poverty Leadership Panel and an article on the Poverty Alliance’s Stick Your Labels campaign.
In recent years, we have witnessed a hardening of attitudes towards those in receipt of benefits - Peter Kelly
The campaign, which will be officially re-launched at a Parliamentary reception in May, seeks to debunk myths around the causes of poverty, who lives in poverty and how the government’s welfare budget is spent.
Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said: “The figures from today’s report show that campaigns such as Stick Your Labels are needed more than ever.
“In recent years, we have witnessed a hardening of attitudes towards those in receipt of benefits, and the blaming of individuals for their poverty.
“This completely ignores the societal causes and increases the stigma associated with living on a low income.
“Through the Stick Your Labels campaign we hope to end poverty myths, and educate people to the real causes of poverty.
“Too many people in Scotland still think that drug and alcohol dependency are responsible for poverty when we know this isn’t the case.
“The face of poverty is changing and the number of people in in-work poverty is growing.
“Civil society, the media and both governments, all have a role to play in tackling poverty myths and tackling bad attitudes towards individuals experiencing poverty.”