JRF responds to Scotland’s latest poverty statistics

Today the Scottish Government has published Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland 2017-20 which provides the most up-to-date picture of poverty in Scotland going into the pandemic.

The statistics show:

  • Before the pandemic, more than 1 million people were living in poverty, including around 250,000 children.
  • For the past three years, the rate of child poverty has stalled at 24%.
  • 68% of children in poverty live in a household where at least one person works.
  • People from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds are more than twice as likely to be living in poverty than people from a White British background.

Responding to these official statistics, Chris Birt, Deputy Director for Scotland of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said:

“Today’s statistics show that even before the pandemic, an unacceptable number of people were trapped in poverty in Scotland. None of us want to live in a country where over one million people, including around 250,000 children, live in poverty. For people in poverty, returning to normal after the pandemic is not good enough.

“On the first day of the election campaign, these statistics underline the urgent need for a passionate debate about how we drive down poverty in Scotland. People here believe action to significantly reduce poverty is possible and are restless to see greater action from our political leaders. To provide a credible route to the child poverty targets they all signed up to, we will need to at least double the value of the Scottish Child Payment, support parents into good jobs and improve the quality and affordability of housing for all families in Scotland.

“The fact that over two-thirds of children live in a household where someone is working shows that our jobs market is not providing a reliable route out of poverty for far too many people. The disproportionate impact of poverty on people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds is shocking. We know the past twelve months of the pandemic have caused immense harm to the lives and livelihoods of so many in our society making it even more vital we build a recovery that is felt by everyone.”