Scotland Budget: Solving poverty must go beyond education

Responding to the Scottish Budget, Jim McCormick, associate director for Scotland at the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), said:

“Today’s Budget was an opportunity for the Scottish government to set out its plans to tackle the root causes which mean 960,000 people live in poverty. The support for housing, childcare and education is welcome. Closing the attainment gap is crucial, but we must also address poverty in the here and now.

“Half of Scots in poverty live in a working household, so a sharper focus to improve pay and job progression is badly needed. Half of low-paid workers are concentrated in three sectors of the economy: retail, hospitality and care, the majority of them women. This is where extra skills investment should be targeted. Too many workers stuck in low pay is a drag on living standards and productivity.

“The growth deal for Dundee is encouraging and we need to see more deals to generate inclusive growth across Scotland. But it is unclear how the funding and powers for city leaders will be put to work to drive down poverty, so further detail on this is needed.”