New statistics published by the Scottish Government today show that more than one million people in Scotland are now living in poverty. This includes 260,000 children, 70 per cent of whom are in households where at least one person is in paid work.
Anti-poverty campaigners have responded to the figures by calling for concerted action by both the UK and Scottish Governments to address this growing crisis. The Scottish Government must use all its new powers to ensure that these very worrying figures do not turn into long term trends. This will include using the power to top up benefits that are currently reserved to Westminster.
Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance said:
“With more than one million people now living in poverty, the Scottish Government needs to consider all available opportunities to address the poverty crisis that has developed. This includes using the power to top up reserved benefits. For example, topping up Child Benefits by £5 per week would help to lift 30,000 children out of poverty. With a Child Poverty Bill now progressing through parliament, there is a real opportunity to improve the lives of families living on a low income and ensure that this is the last generation to grow up in poverty.
“At UK level, the Prime Minister and Chancellor have shown this week that they are willing to make u-turns when they think it is necessary. These figures provide ample evidence of a need to reverse the cuts that have been made to Child Benefit, Jobseekers Allowances, Tax Credits, which are due to be frozen until the end of this parliament. Freezing these lifeline benefits has had a devastating impact on millions of people.
“Too often when we think about poverty, it is about those who are out of work. However these statistics show that for too many families in Scotland work is no longer a route out of poverty. With 70 per cent of children in poverty living in households where someone is in work, there is also a clear role for employers to play their part in tackling poverty.
For more information, please contact Carla McCormack, Policy and Parliamentary Officer, on 0141 353 0440 or email email@example.com
The Scottish Government statistics are available here http://news.gov.scot/news/poverty-in-scotland-201516