The real shame is UK poverty

The Herald
Diverting the shame

By Leah Gunn Barrett:

According to the recent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) report, since the UK Government controls 85% of social spending in Scotland and is completely responsible for working-age benefits, the “overall inadequacy [in social spending] falls at the UK Government’s door”.[1] An immediate example is the looming cut to Universal Credit (UC) and Working Tax Credits (WTC) which will affect around 450,000 families in Scotland, reducing their income by £1,040 a year.

Although unacceptably high, poverty in Scotland is well below that of England. With its limited powers, the Scottish Government has protected many families from the worst impacts of Tory austerity. However, JRF warns Boris’ welfare cuts will neutralize the benefits of the Scottish Child Payment. 

The real shame is that the UK has the worst poverty levels of 14 countries in North West Europe.[2] It has the least generous unemployment benefits, less than a fifth of the average of other European countries, even with the Universal Credit uplift.[3] It pays the lowest state pension in the OECD and is violating the triple lock which will increase pensioner poverty. On top of this, Brexit is hammering working families with soaring food, petrol and heating costs. 

A Union that tolerates a third of its children living in poverty is not worth remaining in. Poverty is a political choice being forced onto Scotland. Only independence gives us the power to choose differently.

[1] https://www.jrf.org.uk/report/poverty-scotland-2021  

[2] https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/2021/08/05/house-of-commons-library-reveals-uk-welfare-least-supportive-in-nw-europe/

[3] ibid

8 thoughts on “The real shame is UK poverty

  1. Excellent!

    It seems appropriate to repeat something I wrote here 19 July:

    The following was written by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) in 2019:
    “The Scottish Government’s decisive and compassionate move to bring in the new Scottish Child Payment is the lifeline children and their families need, and is a BEACON OF PROGRESSIVE POLICY for the rest of the UK’

    ‘This rightly has been LAUDED AS A LANDMARK MOMENT and the MOST PROGRESSIVE POLICY BROUGHT IN SINCE DEVOLUTION 20 years ago. We’ve now seen the Scottish Government decisively put words into action and we believe this will be a foundational step in turning the tide on child poverty in Scotland. Once fully rolled out, over 400,000 children will benefit, and 30,000 children could be freed from poverty.’ (my emphasis)

    The JRF offers this context: ‘Poverty in Scotland is rising and WE KNOW MUCH OF THIS IS DUE TO A REDUCTION IN THE LEVEL OF SUPPORT MANY PEOPLE ARE GETTING FROM THE UK SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM.’
    Source: https://www.jrf.org.uk/blog/scottish-child-payment-will-turn-tide-child-poverty

    (These statements from the JRF were written BEFORE the Scottish Government announced its intention to double the Scottish Child Payment!)

    However, Chris Birt, deputy director for Scotland at the JRF was reported in an STV online news article (14 July) discussing the impact of the Tory Government’s decision to cut Universal Credit. 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.”

    So, based on these two sets of JRF statements we have this situation in Scotland:
    (i) a problem of poverty which was caused largely by the social policies of a Westminster government that a majority in Scotland haven’t voted for;
    (ii) a ’decisive and progressive’, lauded policy introduced to address this problem of poverty by a Scottish government we in Scotland did vote for; but now
    (iii) the policy solution implemented of the Government we did vote for is being undermined directly by the action by the Westminster government we didn’t vote for!

    Better together?

    Liked by 8 people

  2. Excellently put, thank you. The English UK government, rapidly morphing into a regime, is loving this. They must hate the mitigations that the Scottish government are implementing, it is counter to absolutely everything that the Tories stand for, helping the poor, sick and vulerable, not acceptable in the UK even in 2021.
    Terrifying that the polls still show that England will vote the Tories in again at the next general election.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Scotland pays for all UK pensions/benefits. £15Billion. Conned from the monies raised in Scotland. £66Billion.scotland has to pay for HS2, Trident. The biggest waste of monies ever.Scotland has to pay for Westminster. High salaries jobs on the Mall. Scotland has to pay too much for the military. There are not even vessels to patrol the shores.

    Scotland has to pay for illegal wars, financial fraud, tax evasion, fraud and corruption by Westminster. UK tax Laws not enforced. Scotland can only borrow very little to invest in the Scottish economy. (£2Billion) Growth would cover the cost.

    If Scotland did not have to pay for Westminster poor, bad decisions. Pensions could be increased and child poverty could be decreased and eradicated. Independent Scotland would be much better off, more cohesive, equal and happy. NZ, Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Denmark etc. All smaller countries doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Austerity. The ConDems cut Education £6Billion a year, Cut NHS £20Billion, Cut Welfare £16Billion. From 2015 to 2020. Spent £Billions on Hickley Point, the most expensive plant ever built. HS2. now costed £160Billion. The biggest waste of public money.

    Liked by 1 person

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