MORE than half a million Scots are trapped in “severe or extreme poverty”, with the numbers living in such conditions rising by 100,000 in one year, a new report on incomes has found.
The Scottish government report stated that being in employment is “no longer a guarantee against poverty”, in a finding that led to calls for the extension of the Living Wage - a voluntary rate for employers of £7.85 an hour.
There were 510,000 people classed as living in households in “severe or extreme poverty“– of whom 330,000 were working age adults.
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.
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.”