The Joseph Rowntree foundation today released the findings of its investigation in to poverty and employment in Scotland The report highlights a number of issues such as unemployment, low pay, a high cost of living and a reduction in hours worked as factors which contribute to poverty. The report also however highlights that thanks to measures introduced at a UK wide level, such as the minimum wage, tax credits and a focus on building a stronger jobs market, unemployment has fallen in Scotland over the last 20 years. The report highlights the benefits which these UK wide changes have brought to the people of Scotland and the unanswered questions of how an interdependent Scotland would sustain this positive momentum. The report highlights a number of areas where Independence could pose a risk to this positive momentum and asks questions about how an independent Scotland would meet the changeless which would come with Independence.
Commenting on the report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Scottish Labour’s social justice spokeswoman Jackie Baillie responded by welcoming the evidence which showed the last Labour government at Westminster made significant progress in reducing poverty and unemployment in Scotland and the UK as a whole. She went on, however, to Criticize the SNP’s Record in tackling poverty and there unwillingness to take action which would further help us to rid Scotland of poverty.
“Whilst the potential rise in the employment rate to eighty per cent by the mid-2020s is good news, this could still leave one in seven working-age adults and children in poverty.
“This report demonstrates that the SNP government aren’t doing enough to tackle poverty in Scotland, particularly among working families.
“The SNP record on tackling poverty is abysmal; it took a year of Labour campaigning for the SNP to finally admit that the Scottish Parliament already had the power to abolish the ‘bedroom tax’; they refused back the living wage in the Procurement Bill; and progress on reducing child poverty has stalled since they came to power.
“More must be done to tackle the cost of living crisis in Scotland today. Instead of obsessing about the constitution, the SNP must make reducing poverty a top priority.”
The full report can be found here: http://www.jrf.org.uk/