Under the not-so ‘broad shoulders’: UK suffers from the worst levels of poverty

It’s a familiar if nonsense narrative that Scotland benefits from the ‘broad shoulders’ of the Union.

From SNP Westminster media:

The SNP has said “independence is the only way to keep Scotland safe from Tory cuts and build a fairer society” – as new analysis shows the UK suffers from the worst levels of poverty of any neighbouring country, and has done for almost all of the past twenty years.

The analysis from the House of Commons Library [See Notes] has revealed that the UK has the highest poverty rate of every country in north west Europe, with 11.7% of people living in relative poverty under the OECD definition. This puts the UK in a worse position than all thirteen neighbouring countries, including Iceland (4.9%), Denmark (6.1%), Finland (6.5%), Belgium (8.2%), the Netherlands (8.3%), Norway (8.4%), France (8.5%), Sweden (8.9%), Ireland (9.0%), Switzerland (9.2%), Austria (9.4%), Germany (10.4%), and Luxembourg (11.4%)

The figures, using OECD data, show that the UK has a significantly higher poverty rate than the average for independent countries of Scotland’s size or smaller (7.7%), and has had the worst or second-worst poverty rate in every single year since UK data was first recorded in 2002.

It comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak presses ahead with Tory plans to slash Universal Credit payments for six million families by £1040 a year from September. The move has been described as “catastrophic” by the Children’s Commissioner for Scotland, who has warned the cuts would “effectively knock out the benefits that the Scottish Child Payment brings”.

Commenting, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson David Linden MP said:

“The UK is suffering from a growing Tory poverty crisis – with the worst levels of any country in north west Europe.

“Rishi Sunak’s plans to slash Universal Credit payments by £1040 a year for six million families, and impose a public sector pay freeze, will inevitably make this crisis even worse and push more people into hardship and deprivation. There must be an urgent U-turn.

“The cold hard reality is there will be no fair recovery at Westminster. The only way to keep Scotland safe from Tory cuts and build a fairer society is to become an independent country, with the full powers needed to secure a strong, fair and equal recovery and eradicate poverty.

“For every step we take forward to tackle poverty in Scotland, Westminster is dragging us backwards again with Tory cuts. The SNP government is putting money into people’s pockets with progressive policies like the Scottish Child Payment but Tory cuts to Universal Credit will effectively cancel this out – wiping out progress we’ve made.

“Tory plans to impose another round of austerity cuts demonstrate that Scotland is increasingly vulnerable under Westminster control. It is essential that Scotland becomes an independent country, so we can protect ourselves from Tory cuts and build a fairer future.”

House of Commons Library analysis on the poverty rate of countries in north west Europe, using OECD data

The OECD defines the poverty rate as the ratio of the number of people whose income falls below the poverty line; taken as half the median household income of the total population. 

26 thoughts on “Under the not-so ‘broad shoulders’: UK suffers from the worst levels of poverty

  1. Yaddie yaddie ya – SNP complains again and states that Independence is the only solution. The SG has a mandate right now to declare that Scotland is a sovereign state and to dissolve the union, stop complaining , GET ON WITH IT ! #dissolvetheunion

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yaddie-Yaddie -Ya – right on cue another clueless comment from a supposedly Independence supporting ‘democrat’ who doesn’t give a f*ck that perhaps half the population may not be in the same frame of mind .
      They have to be convinced that independence is the right path FOR THEM – and strong-arming them is NOT going to work .

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Examine the logic my friend, if the SNP is not going to DO anything about the matters they consistently complain about – when they have a clear mandate to (at least) hold a referendum – wrong strategy by the way – then I’d suggest that they put up or shut up. Concentrate on attacking the logic, you only undermine your “case” by the invalid ad hominem attacks


      2. Ooh, ad-hominem is it ? Really ? To point out the pertinent fact YOU did promote your own comment, is now to be defined as ad-hominem ?
        Your “Yaddie yaddie ya” James Mills answered perfectly, the ad-hominem is all yours bud….

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The only reason I ask, is to gauge whether there is any realistic chance of overcoming the partisan and illiberal bigotry that will continue to separate Scots from international law and the justice of the Natural law tradition, if we insist on continuing to force Scots law to support material delusions.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good point, Cameron. We are still in the Council of Europe, are we not? Could Scotland appeal to them?
      On the other hand, having listened over at least the past three years, and possibly longer, arguments about replacing the unfair Council Tax with some form of Annual Land tax, based on the use (or not) the land is put to, we would by now have sufficient funds to pay for some mitigation of the worst of these effects.
      We could also have done something to ease the desperate shortage of housing, including dealing with the increasing number of second homes which should be taxed at a higher level.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such inequality and reverse redistribution of wealth is an example of Bodger Broon’s ‘pooling and sharing’. HMG, pools all the resources and wealth generated by the mass of the population and shares it out amongst their cronies.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. This is a headline from the Daily Record recently: “Scottish Government urged to double child payments to offset Universal Credit cut”. The urging is being done by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRT).

    Chris Birt, deputy director for Scotland at the JRT: “In the face of this financial risk to low-income families, it is vital the Scottish Government doubles this payment as soon as possible to help us reach our child poverty targets.”

    Ben Macpherson, Scottish Government’s social security minister: “This cut (to UC) will remove £461 million from Scottish households – and we estimate it will push more than 60,000 people in Scotland into poverty, including 20,000 children.” And he adds: “The Scottish Government is doing everything it can to tackle child poverty with the limited powers and resources at our disposal.”

    In an STV online article yesterday on the same subject (distributed by PA Media), the JRT’s Birt states: “If this cut to Universal Credit goes ahead in October, all the promised doubling of the Scottish Child Payment will achieve is to reverse the effects of this damaging cut.”

    He omits to mention that the funding to meet the cost of the enhanced Scottish Child Payment – which he accepts will be undermined in intended impact by the cut to Universal Credit – will also mean that some other line in the Scottish Government’s budget will need to be cut.

    One step forward, more than one step back – the debilitating impact on Scotland of this Union!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yep and of course any money removed from the poor, is money removed from local areas and even the councils, because people with no money, can’t pay their CTax.
      Poor people tend to shop more locally, keeping those shops open and paying council rates. Perfect for the EngGov, killing many birds with a couple fo stones and my thsoe stones are massive.

      Re; the oil, we ALL know that it is removed from Scotland’s territiorial waters by the EngGov & their dodgy pals abroad, the revenues spaffed up the wall in London and on a minimum of vanity projects in the rEng, to keep the plebs happy and not rioting. The fact the EngGov want to open up more massive oil fileds in Scottish waters is absolutley terrifying for the planet and also for Scotland, countries start wars to get oil.
      It takes time to prospect for oil etc, even with the tech available now, and more than that it takes ALOT of cash, $’s and £’s etc. These lying scheming csmming troughers know it’s down there…and it’s very scary not least because the world and people like the FOE see it as a Scottish attack on the planet!

      Btw, I saw that the ‘Crown estate’ are allowing the Aussie company, ‘Scotgold’ to prospect for ‘minerals’ in the Grampians. ‘Minerals’ hmm, which are worth a bob or two depending on what’s there…Scotland will see none of the £’s but will see their amazing countryside mined to hell.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Channel 4 news last night did a piece on child poverty. Harrowing. It featured a local charity and its workers. They have a ‘crying room’ on their premises where the workers can go and cry their eyes out when they come back from visiting families.


        There is a special circle of hell being prepared for the Tory Ministers who have visited this onto families.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. The wealthy have increased their wealth in the pandemic. Tax evading etc. Sunak is from a billionaire family (wife). They have been accused of tax evading £Millions in India.

    The £10 child payment in Scotland will help decrease poverty. £250million funds for drink/drug addiction in Scotland. More total abstinence proper rehab facilities will help reduce poverty. MUP has cut alcohol consumption,


  6. The thing is, it’s next to impossible to tackle poverty and social exclusion if you separate law and public policy from the biosemiotic and ecological paradigm of legal and political philosophy. Which is exactly what the Scottish government’s ideological capture by Stonewall manages to do rather effectively.

    Linking Ecology and Ethics for a Changing World
    Part I
    Integrating Philosophy and Ecology:
    Biocultural Interfaces


  7. A whole two minutes of this, and my does the woman do her best to try to undermine what the guy is saying. this was I think in 2017, the situation has not changed. ‘Little England’! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bob you made a pathetic comment earlier about his/her need to “like” their own post in order to demonstrate support, now that may be the thing you might do but is certainly not anything I would deliberately do – it was a slip of the finger – & I couldn’t be bothered working out how to undo it.


  8. I appreciate I was warned not to be popups, but I’ve got to seriously doubt the judgement of those who are unappreciative of post-modern critical social theory and a relational approach to law and legal practice.


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