Charities claim Scotland faces 'humanitarian crisis' caused by poverty

Scotland's Outlook The Scotland's Outlook campaign aims to raise awareness of what it claims are rising levels of poverty across Scotland

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A campaign aimed at highlighting the "humanitarian crisis" caused by poverty in Scotland has been launched by a group of charities.

The Scotland's Outlook campaign claimed hundreds of thousands of people were being "battered" by welfare reforms, stagnant wages, rising utility bills, higher living costs and job insecurity.

And it said many families were having to use food banks to feed themselves.

It called on people across the country to "join the fight against poverty".

The campaign is being run jointly by Macmillan, Shelter Scotland, Oxfam, Alzheimer Scotland, Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), the Poverty Alliance and the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO).

Start Quote

With nearly a million people in Scotland living in poverty, we have a humanitarian crisis on our hands and we need everyone's help to tackle it”

End Quote Martin Sime SCVO

It claimed more than 870,000 people in Scotland were living in poverty, with a fifth of children in Scotland living below the breadline and 23,000 people having turned to food banks in the past six months.

Martin Sime, chief executive of the SCVO, said: "With nearly a million people in Scotland living in poverty, we have a humanitarian crisis on our hands and we need everyone's help to tackle it.

"Thousands of people are turning to food banks, struggling to heat their homes, and to clothe themselves and their children. It's not right.

"We want people to wake up to the poverty storm that's engulfing Scotland and get active in the fight against it."

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, said: "People across Scotland are being battered by welfare reforms, stagnant wages, rising utility bills, higher living costs and job insecurity.

"Set against the background of 155,100 households on council waiting lists and nearly 40,000 homelessness applications last year, it is clear that much more needs to be done to combat the root causes of poverty if we are to improve the prospects for everyone living in Scotland."

Foodbank Charities said many families were using foodbanks

"We see and hear the misery poverty causes every day. Not only does it have a devastating impact on home life, it has long-term detrimental effects on people's health, wellbeing and life chances - especially children."

The campaign said a key issue was easing the financial burden of childcare in order to make it easier for parents to work.

Hazel, a lone parent living in Fife, said: "I did not want to be a single mum on benefits, like you see on the news. Those mums were portrayed as lazy scroungers and I definitely was not like that.

"I really wanted to work but every way I turned I was hit with barriers and this made accessing employment so difficult. Childcare was so expensive and not readily available in my area."

She added: "I think there needs to be more support for lone parents accessing employment but from an early stage. Childcare needs to be made a priority in all areas, and it should be more affordable and easily accessible."

The campaign will use social media in an attempt to public awareness of the work they are doing to combat poverty across the country.

In a report published last month, the Joseph Rowntree foundation said child poverty in Scotland had fallen at about twice the rate of England over the past 10 years.

And official government statistics released in June said the number of people living in relative poverty had fallen slightly, from 780,000 in 2010/11 to 710,000 the following year.

But the figures from Scotland's chief statistician also showed there had been a fall in the average household earnings in Scotland, from £461 per week to £436, over the same period.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    @23.alfonso el gato
    Give me a single shred of evidence that things would be any better after independence. the SNP have had responsibility for health, social work etc for years and things are getting steadily worse

    they've diverted money into countering westminster policies that attack the poor, money for those hit by the bedroom tax for a start, personal care for the infirm elderly for another

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Can we separate out 'poverty' from 'relative poverty'?

    The relative figure is based on average earnings, you can see from the end of the article that a drop in average earnings has lifted more people out of that category even tho they may be less well off.

    Poverty, or deprivation is different and there are no figures quoted. Getting people into work is the answer. Independence or not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    @14 Under independence all evidence suggests that Scotland will always elect a left-leaning government (be that SNP or a reformed Labour party) which would look out for those in society with the greatest needs. The devolved Scottish governments have the best track-record of doing this. Without independence Scotland will always be ruled by one of the three Brit mainstream, right-wing parties.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Scots who can't afford to heat their homes, Scots who can't afford to eat, are they Better Together?
    Foodbanks in Glasgow? This is 21st century Scotland, not Malawai. The status quo, Better Together? No thanks!

    Independence now!

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    The Tories are promising more of the same with Cameron signalling tax cuts for the rich while everyone else continues to suffer. The only way out of the Tory poverty trap is to vote for independence on the 18th of September. Then we can prioritise our spending in the areas we deem necessary and can at long last take control of the vast wealth of this nation without being dictated to by Westminster


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