Scotland

Scottish poverty: Demos study paints deprivation picture

  • 22 October 2012
  • From the section Scotland

Some 24,000 families across Scotland are facing "severe disadvantage", according to research by a think tank.

Demos said Glasgow was the worst affected area, with one in 10 families severely disadvantaged - three-times the national average.

Researchers analysed 28,000 households, looking at seven criteria, including low income and ill health.

Families facing four or more of the poor quality of life factors were considered severely disadvantaged.

Glasgow was followed by South and North Lanarkshire (7% and 5% of families respectively) and Fife (5%) as having the highest proportions of severely disadvantaged families.

The Grampian region was least disadvantaged.

The research also suggested that unmarried households with children were six times more likely to be severely disadvantaged than married households, with 8.5% of unmarried households with children facing four or more disadvantages versus 1.4% of married households.

Some 15% of families with children were workless, compared with 24% of working age households without children.

And South Lanarkshire was the area with the highest inequality, as the percentage of families with either four or more disadvantages (7%) or none (58%) were both higher than the national average.

The research also identified which types of families are more likely to experience severe disadvantage, with half being lone parents, compared to a national average of 21%.

Households experiencing severe disadvantage were also more likely to live in large urban areas (50%) and social rented housing (77%).

Louise Bazalgette, author of the report, which is called A Wider Lens, said it went beyond a "simplistic understanding of disadvantage" by recognising that hardship is about more than just low income.

'Bleak picture'

She added: "It provides insight into the struggle thousands of families across Scotland go through on a daily basis coping with poverty, worklessness and poor health.

"The extent of severe disadvantage in some areas of Scotland shows the scale of the challenge for some local authorities, who need to find effective ways to work with families facing a complex set of problems at a time of dwindling public resources.

"In upcoming research Demos will work closely with severely disadvantaged families and local support providers, to go beyond these headline figures and provide a better understanding of their lives."

Paul Moore, chief executive of the Quarriers charity, said: "This research paints a truly bleak picture of what life is like for thousands of families across Scotland who experience multi-disadvantage every day. This is why Quarriers is launching Scotland's Family Appeal.

"Multiple disadvantage has a compounding effect, creating a perfect storm of complex, interrelated hardships that feed off each other and are incredibly difficult to overcome.

"Quarriers' mission is to step in to ensure the needs of these disadvantaged families are met - and we aim to do so through Scotland's Family Appeal to enable the charity to develop innovative services to help people cope worklessness, no qualifications and ill health."

The seven indicators included in the analysis were low income, worklessness, no educational qualifications, overcrowding, ill health, mental health problems and living in a poor neighbourhood.

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