Over half a million in severe poverty

Scale of severe and extreme poverty laid bare in new report
Scottish Government

Scale of severe and extreme poverty laid bare in new report.

Over half a million people in Scotland lived on less than half the average income in 2012/13, according to new data published today.

510,000 people were classed as living in households in severe or extreme poverty – of whom 330,000 were working age adults, 100,000 were children and 80,000 pensioners.

A household is defined as living in relative poverty with an income below 60 per cent of the UK median income. Severe poverty is defined as living with an income lower than £11,500, or 50 per cent of UK median income, while extreme poverty is defined as lower than £9,200, 40 per cent of UK median income.

Commenting on Severe Poverty in Scotland, Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil said:

“It’s a disgrace that so many people live in such severe or extreme poverty, but it’s an unfortunate and inevitable result of the UK Government’s failed austerity agenda and welfare cuts that are slashing incomes for some of our poorest households.

“With employment increasing and unemployment down, Scotland is outperforming the rest of the UK, yet the statistics show that a job is no longer any guarantee against severe or extreme poverty.

“That’s why we opposed cutting in-work tax credits and why the Scottish Government and its agencies are paying the living wage, encouraging other employers to follow suit.

“We have put tackling poverty and inequality at the heart of Government, through policies like the council tax freeze, free prescriptions, expanding childcare provision, while we are mitigating the worst of the welfare cuts, by replacing income lost through the bedroom tax or council tax benefits cuts. That action is making a real difference and we will continue to make the argument for a fairer welfare system.”

Download Report (ZIP file).