Inequality in Scotland must be tackled by new jobs and fair taxation

A new study of poverty and social exclusion in Scotland highlights a huge rise in unemployment for under-25s, and stark and growing health inequalities.

Oxfam Scotland says it shows a failure on the part of politicians and policy-makers and the need for a new kind of economy.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation report, Monitoring poverty and social exclusion in Scotland 2013, used the latest Government data, to look at various areas, including unemployment, education, and health.

The research, carried out by the New Policy Institute, shows that:

  • Since 2008, the number of under-25s who are unemployed has almost doubled to 90,000.
  • Among those without dependent children, there was a rise in the number living in low-income, working families from 125,000 to 150,000.
  • The number of people working part-time, who want a full-time job, has risen from 70,000 in 2008 to 120,000 in 2012.
  • A boy born in the most deprived 10 per cent of areas has a life expectancy of 68 – 8 years below the national average and 14 years below boys born in the least deprived areas.

Judith Robertson, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “Perhaps the most damning finding in this report is that – despite years of talk from politicians and policy makers about rewarding work – poverty among working families has actually gone up over the last decade. People are working, but they’re still poor – that must be tackled.

“The Government plans to cut vital support for low-paid working people and for those who can’t work. This will punish vulnerable people who are already struggling. It will also increase the massive gap that already exists between the richest and poorest in society.

“To tackle that inequality, we need to have fair play in taxation, so that wealthy individuals and companies pay their fair share to society, and we need to create sustainable jobs with secure, decent pay.”