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Poverty in Scotland

07/05/2009

Poverty and income inequality in Scotland 'shames the nation', Housing Minister Alex Neil said today.

The latest official statistics published today detail the number of children, working age adults and pensioners in low-income poverty.

Figures show that the proportion of individuals in relative poverty in Scotland remains unchanged at 17 per cent of the population.

The Minister said a range of measures are in place by the Scottish Government to tackle a cycle of inequality that remains to be broken, including:

  • A national Solidarity Purpose Target to ensure that increases in wealth reach those on the lowest incomes by 2017
  • A joint anti-poverty framework launched with CoSLA
  • The Fairer Scotland Fund, providing 435 million pounds over three years to help the most disadvantaged areas and individuals
  • The Energy Assistance Package, backed by over 60 million pounds a year from the Scottish Government, designed to better target pensioners and low income families
  • A Scottish Economic Recovery Plan to respond to the global economic recession
  • Delivering a record 14,430 free central heating systems last year for pensioners
  • The Early Years Framework and universal free school meals for the youngest pupils

Mr Neil said:

"As a modern nation, poverty and inequality shames Scotland.

"That's why this Government is resolute in our determination to deliver a fairer and wealthier Scotland.

"Within our limited devolved powers, we are doing all we can to ensure more of our population are able to share in the benefits of a growing economy."

"Our anti-poverty framework has at its heart a delivery plan for the solidarity target which has been set out in our economic strategy.

"This target commits us to increasing the proportion of income earned by the bottom 30 per cent of Scotland's population by 2017."