Joseph Rowntree Foundation urges Scotland to tackle rising child poverty

In it's Poverty in Scotland report the Joseph Rowntree Foundation finds that Scotland is making good progress in reducing poverty, with lower levels than in the rest of the UK. 

However, the report also shows that child poverty is expected to rise from from 23% to 29% by 2021 if current projections continue. 

Factors behind this changing pattern include rising house prices, with those on the lowest incomes now spending a third of their earnings on accommodation. 

People on lower incomes were also found to be more likely to live in substandard homes, with half of homes in the rented private sector not meeting the Scottish Housing Quality Standard. 

The report also show in- work poverty to be a growing issue:

'Overall, 43% of working age adults in poverty live in workless families, while 57% live in families where at least one adult is in work. This contrasts with the situation two decades ago, when 52% of those in (working age) poverty lived in workless families, and 48% in those with at least one person in work. One in four part-working families is in poverty – where at least one adult is working and one is not. This has stabilised over the last decade, while the rate has carried on rising in the rest of the UK. This is a key area for Scotland to protect and improve on.'

Campbell Robb, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said:

“Scotland has a proud record in reducing poverty over the last 20 years, with significant falls in pensioner and child poverty. It has meant thousands of families across the country have enjoyed better living standards, financial security and better prospects.

“But Scotland stands at a turning point as the challenge facing families on low incomes changes. The rising cost of housing and the challenge of low-pay and in-work poverty – as well as the impact of UK social security decisions - mean the country’s progress is in peril.

“Scotland’s record shows progress can be made with sustained effort, but these findings highlight that these gains are fragile and need to be protected. The upcoming Budget provides a chance to tackle the long-term drivers of poverty and fix the foundations for the next generation of families.”

Recommendations to the government include improving housing standards and reducing costs for tenants, easing pressure on working families by topping up child tax credits and ensuring in work training is given to the lowest paid workers. 

Source: Joseph Rowntree Foundation

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