Figures showing a million Scots living in poverty underline the urgent need for bold policies

Alison Johnstone MSP, Social Security spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (16 March) said that new figures showing 1 million Scots are living in poverty show the need to pursue Green policies.

The figures show that after housing costs, 20 per cent of people in Scotland were living in relative poverty in 2015/16, representing 1.05 million people. This compares to 18 per cent in 2014/15.

The number of children affected has risen to 260,000.

Median income in Scotland decreased in 2015/16 by £600 while the gap between the top 10 per cent of the population and the bottom 40 per cent more than doubled in one year.

In recent months, the Green MSPs have secured a number of anti-poverty measures from the Scottish Government, including:

-A pledge to roll-out nationally Glasgow's Healthier Wealthier Children scheme in which health visitors help vulnerable families access benefits to boost their incomes.
-A pledge to explore a Young Carer's Allowance to help the estimated 30,000 carers under the age of 16, many of whom struggle financially.
-A pledge to not use benefit sanctions in devolved employment programmes.

Greens also want to see new powers over social security used to top-up Child Benefit by £5 a week to lift 30,000 children out of poverty.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

"Figures showing a million Scots living in poverty underline the urgent need for bold policies. Green MSPs have been pushing hard for action to boost incomes, support carers and end benefit sanctions.

"Analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that child poverty in Scotland has shifted to working households, and poverty is shifting towards the Private Rented Sector. The JRF says actions to address poverty should include Living Wage employment, advice to maximise incomes, quality childcare, a reduced attainment gap, affordable housing and transport. These are all priority areas for Green MSPs and we will continue to push for action."