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24 January 2014
Rise in Scottish households living on inadequate incomes

Rise in Scottish households living on inadequate incomes

The number of Scottish households surviving on incomes below the level needed to afford an adequate standard of living rose by 70,000 in the space of three years, according to new research carried out for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

Among the 1.9 million Scottish households covered in the research, 390,000 fall short of the level needed to afford an adequate standard of living, up from 320,000 households in 2008/9.

Income adequacy is measured by the minimum income standard (MIS), which is what the public think we need for a minimum socially acceptable standard of living.

Katie Schmuecker, policy and research manager at JRF, said: “Many people have seen downward pressure on their living standards, but more households on low and modest incomes in Scotland are having to make tough choices about what essentials to go without.

“It means 390,000 households are now living on less than what fellow members of the public think is needed for an acceptable standard of living. As growth re-emerges it is vital the recovery helps improve the living standards of those in greatest need.”

The report, by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at LoughboroughUniversity, uses the latest available data on household incomes to monitor changes in adequacy since the recession and its aftermath (2008/9 to 2011/12).

Of the 390,000 households, 88,000 have less than half the MIS, while 212,000 have less than three-quarters of the amount needed.

Donald Hirsch, co-author of the report, said: “Young people, single people and people in private rented housing have done particularly badly relative to the minimum income standard during the downturn.

“A whole generation of young adults are noticeably worse off as a result of the deterioration in their job prospects, a worsening of housing options and falls in real wages and benefits, making it harder for young people to be independent.

“Our figures show that those under-35s who do live on their own are much more likely than in the past to have far less income than they need for a minimum standard of living.”

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