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It mostly covers my work as UNISON Scotland's Head of Policy and Public Affairs although views are my own. For full coverage of UNISON Scotland's policy and campaigns please visit our web site. You can also follow me on Twitter. I hope you find this blog interesting and I would welcome your comments.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Poverty in Scotland

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is launching today Monitoring poverty and social exclusion in Scotland 2013, produced by the New Policy Institute. This is JRF’s sixth assessment of poverty in Scotland.

This research on poverty and social exclusion in Scotland highlights a huge rise in unemployment for under-25s and stark and growing health inequalities.

• Since 2008, the number of under-25s who are unemployed has almost doubled to 90,000.

• A boy born in the most deprived 10 per cent of areas has a life expectancy of 68 – 8 years below the national average and 14 years below boys born in the least deprived areas.

• Among those without dependent children, there was a rise in the number living in low-income, working families from 125,000 to 150,000

• The number of people working part-time, who want a full-time job, has risen from 70,000 in 2008 to 120,000 in 2012.

With the UK Government's emphasis on strivers and skivers, the report's finding around work are particularly interesting.

With the onset of recession in 2008, unemployment rose for all age groups. But since 2010, the only subsequent rise in unemployment has been among young adults. By mid-2012, around 90,000 under-25s were unemployed. This amounts to an unemployment rate of 21%. The rate for over 25s was 6%. Both these figures were almost identical to the equivalent for England and Wales.

As several previous reports have highlighted rising unemployment does not tell the full story. The total number of people in part-time work rose by 60,000, whereas the number of people in full-time work fell by 120,000. Moreover, almost the entire rise in part-time work is among people who say they want a full-time job, from 70,000 to 120,000. Additionally, the number of people in self-employment has risen from 265,000 to 300,000. Over the same period, the number of people in employee jobs fell by almost 100,000. All the rise is among those 'working for themselves', often people now doing similar work to that which they were previously employed by someone else to do. All too often not at the same number of hours.

This is a very useful contribution to our understanding of the labour market in Scotland and the impact on levels of poverty.

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