Why Scotland has 8% of the population but 0% of the UK’s worst places for child poverty



Though today’s report from End Child Poverty shows that Glasgow does have one of the ‘top’ parliamentary constituencies for child poverty, before taking account of housing costs, Scotland has no entries at all when housing costs, as they would be in actuality, are considered:



Why is the situation regarding child poverty a bit better here?

In 2018, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation had this to say about the Scottish Government’s intentions to reduce child poverty:

‘The Scottish Government’s commitment to building a social security system that has dignity and respect at its core and offering routes into employment for those currently excluded from the labour market, could change the family incomes and prospects of thousands of children for the better.’


Differences with non-Scottish Parts 1: Less vulnerable to benefits cuts


‘The IFS found that low-income families in Scotland currently have a higher proportion of their income coming from earnings than low-income families in some (but not all) parts of the UK, so have a lower proportion of income that is vulnerable to benefit cuts compared with some of the hardest-hit regions of the UK.’ (Hood and Waters,2017). 2


Differences with non-Scottish Parts 2: Fewer large families


‘In addition, one key change to UK benefit policy – the two-child limit on tax credits and Universal Credit– will particularly hit families with three or more children born after 6 April 2017. The IFS analysis found that Scotland has proportionally fewer families with three or more children than elsewhere in the UK, and around half the proportions found in Northern Ireland and the West Midlands.’ (Hood and Waters, 2017). 3


Differences with non-Scottish Parts 3 and 4: Higher increases in median income and less relative poverty


Note: The predicted dramatic increases above neglect impact of further welfare devolution to SNP Government:


‘Many of the key drivers of changes in poverty have been felt UK-wide. However, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has supported some research that showed a clear rise in Scottish median incomes relative to the rest of the UK from around 2003/04 and a relatively bigger improvement in the relative poverty rate from 2004/05.’ (Bailey, 2014).


Persistent poverty refers to children who have been living in relative poverty in three out of the last four years – a measure of the number of children who have been in poverty for a prolonged period of time.

Differences with non-Scottish Parts 5 and 6: Stronger decreases in poverty rates and increases in employment


‘The research identified strong decreases in poverty rates for the working-age population compared with the rest of the UK, alongside improving employment rates, especially for families without children. Over the period from 2000/04 to 2008/12, Scotland saw a bigger reduction in out-of-work families compared with the rest of the UK and similar growth as the rest of the UK in ‘intermediate work intensity’ (‘partly working’ families). 8


Differences with non-Scottish Parts 7 and 8: Affordable rents and mortgage costs


‘The analysis also pointed to more affordable rent and mortgage costs relative to income than in England, with social rents being 20–25% lower in Scotland by 2012/13. As a result, poverty after housing costs, compared with before housing costs, rose by a smaller amount than in England.’ 8


SNP Government Initiatives


‘In the coming months, the Scottish Government will launch two strategies that could make a crucial difference for our society. The first is an action plan on halving the disability employment gap, and the second is an action plan on the gender pay gap that is due to be published by the end of the year. This could be transformational for tackling poverty.’ 9



TODAY, we hear of the ongoing commitment of the SNP government, despite the Westminster constraints, to go beyond words and to act:


‘Vulnerable families are set to benefit from new funding to support households in financial hardship. Seven projects aimed at tackling child poverty will receive a total of £450,000. The money is a part of the ‘Every Child, Every Chance’ Innovation Fund, which is jointly supported by the Scottish Government and The Hunter Foundation. The fund aims to support innovative approaches which could have an impact on reducing child poverty by 2030. The projects range from job training and a befriending service, to school-based mentoring and support for lone parents. One of the successful projects is Stepwell, a social business based in Inverclyde, which provides support to people in the local community with health and finance issues as well as training and employment opportunities.’





3 thoughts on “Why Scotland has 8% of the population but 0% of the UK’s worst places for child poverty

  1. Alasdair Macdonald May 15, 2019 / 8:05 am

    Thanks again for providing such data.

    Looking at the ‘top 20’, I see that half of them are London constituencies and all of them are within 1 or 2 miles of the City of London and Canary Wharf – the temples of Mammon – where unimaginable sums of money are circulating every day (much of it money laundering for ‘respectable’ international businesses and ‘oligarchs’ (as the media likes to call them, especially if they are Russian.)

    One of the reasons that very wealthy, financial people were in the shadows behind Brexit was that the EU is to bring in a financial transactions tax and other transparency legislation which would curtail – a little – their rapacious greed. Even a tiny level of tax redistributed within a coupleof miles around the financial district of London would lift almost everyone out of poverty. Changing the constitution of the UK away from being a protector of the City would let centres such as Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle – all represented on the list – recover the economic vitality that made them powerful centres of commerce in the 18 and 19th centuries. The same, of course, would apply to an independent Scotland..

    This is without even adopting particularly equitable policies. As the SG has shown more humane policies, albeit hampered by wilfully retained aspects,can have a beneficial effect on many.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ludo Thierry May 15, 2019 / 4:35 pm

    Perhaps pertinent to this article – From news.gov.scot site today: Link and snippets below:


    More than £18 million seized from criminals is to fund projects which divert disadvantaged young people away from crime.

    The Cashback for Communities scheme reinvests criminal assets into community projects which support young people into positive destinations, diverting some away from potentially criminal or anti-social behaviour.

    The next phase of funding will take total investment in the programme, which is unique to Scotland, to almost £110 million since it began in 2008.

    CashBack has funded a variety of projects in the past 11 years including the Celtic FC Foundation, the National Autistic Society and Impact Arts which all provide opportunities to raise the attainment, ambition and aspirations of young people from areas of deprivation.

    Minister for Community Safety Ash Denham said: “The numbers of children referred to the Children’s Reporter on offence grounds or prosecuted in the courts have fallen substantially over the last decade and our Cashback programme supports that progress by giving many of Scotland’s most disadvantaged young people a wide range of positive opportunities to challenge themselves and inspire those around them.”


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