Academics find that more and more households are falling below the breadline
A bombshell study has revealed that the number of Scottish households falling below the poverty line has risen by 19% in 30 years - despite Britain’s economy doubling in that time.
The Poverty and Social Exclusion in the United Kingdom (PSE) project, conducted by the country’s leading universities, found that almost one million Scots cannot afford adequate housing; 800,000 can't afford to socialise; and a quarter of a million children and adults are not properly fed.
It also revealed that key housing problems of inadequate heating, damp, family overcrowding, money for decoration, and housing debt/arrears have all got worse in Britain since 1999.
Professor Nick Bailey, from the University of Glasgow, said: “The UK government continues to ignore the deep problems in the Scottish and UK labour markets; it does not have adequate policies to address this growing problem. UK and Scottish governments both need to do more.”
It should not be the case that in 21st century Scotland, one in four adults has skimped on their own food to ensure others in the household eat
The PSE study helped to dispel myths promoted by hardline Conservative politicians that finding work is a ‘route out’ of poverty - as it found that nearly half of Scots in poverty still have jobs, one in every eight in paid work still live below the breadline and one in five borrow money to pay for day to day needs.
Around 30% of those surveyed could not afford to heat their homes, leaving 350,000 children living in the cold during winter.
Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said: “‘It is extremely concerning that the number of households falling below the minimum standard of living has more than doubled in the last thirty years.
“The fact that the size of the economy has also doubled in this time shows that poverty is a political choice.
“It should not be the case that in 21st century Scotland, one in four adults has skimped on their own food to ensure others in the household eat.
“The fact that 30,000 children in Scotland live in families who cannot afford to feed them properly is a national disgrace.
“Both governments need to do more to tackle poverty now, including raising benefit levels and further promotion of the living wage.”