Poverty-free Scotland possible using prevention, says JRF

Written by Tom Freeman on 18 February 2016 in News

Joseph Rowntree Foundation launches manifesto ahead of Holyrood election proposing ‘long term pathway’ to eradicate poverty

Focusing on education, housing and job prospects can solve Scotland’s poverty problems, according to a new manifesto by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), launched ahead of the Scottish Parliament elections.

More than 200,000 children, 600,000 adults of working age and 100,000 retired people live in income poverty in Scotland, but the JRF argues this can be tackled with an “all-age strategy” for poverty reduction.

It recognises a political consensus on tackling poverty and challenges the parties to translate this into “a clear set of priorities”.


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“Because poverty is driven by trends in the jobs market, housing, childcare, education and the cost of essential goods and services, as well as the benefits system, the Scottish response has to be multi-dimensional,” the manifesto says.

Key recommendations include:

- Early years education and childcare should be made more flexible with a single funding system

- More investment in careers advice

- Improve pay, hours, security and prospects at work

- Rent controls and a new local property tax to replace the council tax

- Reduce energy consumption and improve efficiency

In his accompanying blog, the JRF's associate director for Scotland Jim McCormick said poverty was “costly, risky and wasteful” but can be solved by a “wealthy” country.

“We know a great deal about the causes of poverty and how to fight it: there is no excuse for fatalism or inaction. The challenge now is to all parties to set out their plans that will drive down levels of poverty and make sustained progress,” he said.

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