Monitoring poverty and social exclusion in Scotland 2008

Peter Kenway, Tom MacInnes and Guy Palmer

The New Policy Institute has produced its 2008 edition of indicators of poverty and social exclusion in Scotland, providing a comprehensive analysis of trends and differences between groups.

Based on the latest available data, its starting point is that, while child and pensioner poverty in Scotland has fallen over the last decade, poverty among working-age adults has remained the same.

Summary

Summary

The New Policy Institute has produced its 2008 edition of indicators of poverty and social exclusion in Scotland, providing a comprehensive analysis of trends and differences between groups. Based on the latest available data, its starting point is that, while child and pensioner poverty in Scotland has fallen over the last decade, poverty among working-age adults has remained the same.

Key points:

  • The child poverty rate in Scotland is now among the lowest in the UK, at 25%.The fall of one-fifth in the Scottish child poverty rate since the late 1990s is similar to that in Wales and the north of England. This rate has now remained at 25% for three years in a row.
  • The number of pensioners in poverty in Scotland has come down by more than 100,000 since the late 1990s.
  • The number of working-age adults in poverty has stayed roughly the same since the late 1990s. Within this group, however, 'in-work' poverty has gone up.
  • Furthermore, the Scottish government's new focus on the bottom three tenths of the income distribution should mean that more importance is attached to the interests of lower-income working families.
  • A majority of workless working-age adults are in poverty, and those without children have seen the value of their benefits frozen.
  • Half of all those paid less than £7 per hour live outside the Central belt and Dundee. Since the areas with the highest risk of low pay are different to those with the highest risk of poverty, a twin-track approach with a different geographical focus is required.
  • The extent to which working-age adults claiming out-of-work benefits are concentrated in particular 'pockets of deprivation' in Scotland has barely changed in the last decade.
  • Life expectancy for both women and men in Scotland is lower than in any of the so-called 'arc of prosperity' countries, by up to three and five years respectively.
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