This website uses cookies for anonymised analytics and for account authentication. See our privacy and cookies policies for more information.

The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Very deep poverty now a factor for many low income Scots

This news post is about 1 year old

Charity states 150,000 more now living at this level

More Scots are struggling with "very deep" poverty new research reveals.

Anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said the figure has gone up by about 50% in 25 years with 150,000 more now living at this level.

Very deep poverty is classified as having below 40% of the median household income.

However, the overall number of people below the poverty line had improved.

The foundation said 460,000 people in Scotland were living in "very deep" poverty from 2017 to 2020, up from 310,000 between 1994 and 97.

The charity said it was the “equivalent of the population of Dundee” falling into very deep poverty over the last 20 years.

Significant numbers of people living in poverty were lifted out in the earlier parts of the 21st century, the report acknowledged.

Policy decisions made by the Scottish and UK governments to lower poverty are not being targeted at those who have the least.

The research showed those most in need of support have been allowed to slip even further away from a decent standard of living.

Those most likely to live in very deep poverty include single person households, households including someone who is disabled and minority ethnic households.

JRF has called for a “shift in priorities” and more careful policy design which the charity said is “urgently needed”.

JRF’s associate director for Scotland, Chris Birt, said: “The story of poverty in Scotland over the past 20 years is a bleak contradiction that both the UK and Scottish Governments need to wake up to. More people just below the poverty line have been pulled above it at the same time as those with the very least falling further behind.

“This rise in very deep poverty can be plainly seen in the hundreds of thousands of food bank parcels provided across the country every year, as well as the growing gap in healthy life expectancy between the most and least deprived areas of Scotland.

“More must be done to target policies at the half a million people living in very deep poverty. An Essentials Guarantee from the UK Government would ensure that the Universal Credit system, at the bare minimum, gives everyone enough to afford the essentials.

“A Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland would have the same targeted effect at reducing levels of very deep poverty.”