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Poor people are lazy say a worrying number of Scots

This news post is over 7 years old

​Cyrenians launch new campaign with a poll which examines Scotland's attitudes to the poor

A shocking number of Scots think poverty is caused by laziness, according to new charity research.

Cyrenians, which published the poll, says the findings show there is still some distance to go in challenging public perceptions of those in need.

More than a quarter (28%) of those polled by the anti-poverty challenge thought people were poor because they are too lazy to do anything about their circumstances.

The survey was commissioned as part of Cyrenians' newly launched Tell Your Story campaign aimed at changing how the public views those who are struggling.

It found that 24% believed a lack of willpower was another contributory factor to people living in poverty.

We must stand up and tackle the causes of poverty and change public perceptions

At the same time, the majority thought that unemployment (76%), addiction (59%) and family circumstances (56%) are main causes of poverty.

Scottish people believe early intervention and working with those most at risk, along with providing more jobs, are the best ways to reduce poverty.

The poll found that Scots believed providing jobs (59%), working with families at risk of poverty (58%), early intervention (53%) and providing education (51%) were the best ways the government should help those living in poverty, with only a tiny minority (6%) believing cutting benefits would do so.

In order to tackle poverty, Cyrenians aims, over the next five years, to increase the number of people they support annually from 4,400 to 6,000 people in a major expansion of their work in Scotland as they respond to a rise in demand from those who feel excluded from family, home, work or community.

Major celebrities such as Irvine Welsh, Mark Greenaway, Brian Cox, Grant Stott, Bill Paterson, and Mark Cousins have backed the Tell Your Story campaign. The leaders of Scotland’s five main parties are also all on board.

Cyrenians chief executive, Ewan Aitken, said: “The Scottish public clearly believe that the type of support provided by Cyrenians, such as working with people in danger of becoming excluded from their family or home at an early stage and working with those most at risk, are the best ways to reduce poverty rather than blunt financial instruments or stigmatising language.

“We want to build on that and challenge any perception amongst the public that those in poverty are only there through laziness or lack of willpower.

“Politicians, along with the rest of society, must stand up and tackle the causes of poverty and change public perceptions. To do that we must work to prevent people from feeling excluded from family, home, work or the wider community. Through our own stories and those of people we support, as well as they services we provide, we can achieve that change.”

“We should remember that we all have a past, a present and a future, so we are urging people to come forward and, please, tell your story.”

To find out more about Cyrenians and the Tell Your Story campaign visit its website at



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Lisa Robertson
over 7 years ago
How many are actually Scots born that took that survey? Scots born know the real facts, we've seen what some non Scots born think of Scots even living in Scotland. They think Scots are just lazy, drunks and druggies. Scotland isn't like how it used to be, a real community spirit, now there are too much "I'm Alright Jacks" that was never a trait of Scots many decades ago. We didn't sit in judgement of someone being unemployed because it could happen to us and in my case it did, through no fault of mine. Thankfully I still have the good old real Scottish values of not looking down nose on others misery. Scotland no longer as deeply compassionate though working class Scottish people give more to help those suffering than those ignorant folk that judge the unemployed.