One million Scots now living in poverty as austerity bites

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One million Scots are now living in poverty as the impact of austerity cuts in recent years bites, official figures have revealed.

The incomes of poorer households fell further behind those of middle earners, pushing more people into poverty. Poorer households with children have been worse hit, falling further behind those on middle incomes.

Poverty is on the rise in Scotland

Poverty is on the rise in Scotland

The Scottish Government says the climate of austerity which has resulted in swingeing welfare cuts has been a key factor in the rise.

Read more: Almost half of inner Glasgow children living in poverty
Over the three-year period 2014-17, 19% of people in Scotland were living in relative poverty in 2014-17, representing one million people each year.

Almost a fifth (19%) of children in Scotland, approximately 180,000 each year, were living in relative poverty before housing costs. This compares to 17% in 2013-16.

Persistent poverty rates were higher for children compared to other age groups. Before housing costs, 9% of children in Scotland were in persistent poverty between 2012 and 2016, although this is down from 10% in the previous period.

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Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said the Scottish Government is "absolutely committed" to reducing poverty.

But she admitted: "These figures show the scale of the challenge we face, which is why we are committed to actions that make life better now as well as driving long term change. This includes initiatives such as our major expansion of free childcare as well as our investment of over £100 million every year to protect people from the worst impact of UK Government welfare cuts.

“We know that in the face of UK Government cuts and continuing austerity, which are having a damaging impact on thousands of Scottish households, our actions mean we are fighting poverty with one hand tied behind our back."