Scotland

Scotland's four richest families wealthier than poorest 20%

Graffiti on a housing estate Image copyright SPL

Scotland's four richest families are wealthier than the poorest 20% of the population, according to a report by Oxfam.

The charity also calculated that the country's 14 wealthiest families were better off than the most deprived 30%.

Oxfam Scotland revealed the figures in a report which called for more to be done to tackle economic inequality.

It suggested members of the government and senior civil servants should undertake a poverty training course.

Oxfam said the move would ensure they "understand the realities of living in poverty".

In the run-up to next year's Holyrood elections, Oxfam has called on all political parties to "commit themselves to creating a more equal Scotland within a more equal world".

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Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: "The Scottish Parliament has a number of powers which it could use to reduce inequality and poverty. We urge all parties to outline clear and robust policies for achieving this goal.

"We recognise that not all political power rests in Scotland but where the Scottish Parliament has power it should act boldly, and where it does not it should be a strong and progressive advocate for change."

Oxfam has called on political parties at Holyrood to work towards a number of goals, including building a more equal Scotland, ending hunger in the country and increasing international aid.

Its report said "nearly one in five people in Scotland live with the daily reality of poverty, with women hit hardest".

The charity wants the next government to establish a target for reducing economic inequality in Scotland and create a dedicated inequality commission to identify how devolved powers could be used to achieve it.

International aid

Oxfam welcomed First Minister Nicola's Sturgeon's decision to have a gender-balanced cabinet, but the charity said more must be done to give the poor, disabled and ethnic minorities a voice.

The report said: "As part of professional development, cabinet secretaries - as well as Scottish government directors and deputy directors - should undertake a poverty training course overseen by the poverty and inequality adviser. This should involve meetings with groups and individuals with direct experience of poverty."

Oxfam said parties in Scotland should allocate £10m to the International Development Fund in the first year of the new parliament to help the poorest people across the world, and should also pass legislation to ensure the level of help was maintained.

It said an International Emergency Fund should also be set up by the Scottish government with funding of £1m a year as "a floor not a ceiling", so that Scotland could respond to humanitarian crises.

Oxfam also said Scotland should be promoted as a "nation of sanctuary" for refugees, with the report calling on the next Scottish government to do all it can - including providing financial support - to support the resettlement of refugees.

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