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Home  >  News  >  Poverty Progress Welcomed by Church

News

Poverty Progress Welcomed by Church

 

THE Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council has welcomed a major new report which shows Scotland has made significant headway in tackling poverty.

Responding to the findings of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s report, Poverty in Scotland 2017, published today, the Rev Dr Richard Frazer said: "We welcome the news that over the last generation Scotland has made significant progress in reducing poverty. We believe this is in no small part the result of a concerted effort to listen to the voice of those with direct experience of poverty and learn from their wisdom. Initiatives such as the Poverty Truth Commission, Wevolution, the Grassmarket Community Project and the hundreds of other projects enabled by congregations across Scotland, help us all better understand the nature of poverty and enable those who live with it to shape its demise. This success is theirs and it is to be celebrated.”

Acknowledging the risks to progress identified by JRF’s research, he added:  “Now it is more important than ever that we work to ensure that all have access to the employment, money, education, housing and relationships necessary to thrive. We would urge the Scottish Government to use the forthcoming budget to ensure that this happens, particularly for young people growing up in Scotland.

“This is not just about tackling poverty, it is about creating a society in which everyone might flourish. For Christians, It is part of living out our gospel imperative to love our neighbour as our self."

The report, by the respected York-based foundation, said poverty was lower in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, but warned of threats to progress – including a projected increase in child poverty – and urged the Scottish Government to use next month’s draft budget to sustain improvements. Child poverty is projected to increase from 23% to 29% by 2021 as a result of UK social security decisions and long-term changes in the economy according to the research.

Campbell Robb, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation said: ““Scotland has a proud record in reducing poverty over the last 20 years, with significant falls in pensioner and child poverty. It has meant thousands of families across the country have enjoyed better living standards, financial security and better prospects.

“But Scotland stands at a turning point as the challenge facing families on low incomes changes. The rising cost of housing and the challenge of low-pay and in-work poverty – as well as the impact of UK social security decisions - mean the country’s progress is in peril.

“Scotland’s record shows progress can be made with sustained effort, but these findings highlight that these gains are fragile and need to be protected. The upcoming Budget provides a chance to tackle the long-term drivers of poverty and fix the foundations for the next generation of families.”

 

See the headline findings of the research here


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