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ESF Tackling Poverty and Social Inclusion

ESF 146


What is poverty?

Living in poverty means being on a low income compared to the average family in Scotland.  If you live on your own or have a small family, you probably need less money to get by than a larger family.  That’s why the ‘poverty line’ is different for each family size.

In work poverty

After housing costs, poverty remained at the same level for all groups in 2014/15, compared to the previous year.  Over the last decade child poverty has fallen but the rates remain high with more than one in five children living in poverty in the last year.

In recent years, more people are in employment, especially those in low income households.  However, in 2014/15 the jobs they went into tended to be part time, meaning they were likely to stay in relative poverty even though they were working.

Welfare reform has meant benefits for working age people have not increased at the same rate as earnings. For many low income families, household income is not enough for them to escape poverty despite being in employment.

In 2014-15, more than half of working-age adults (58%) and two-thirds of children in poverty (66%) lived in families where someone was in work.  This rate of ‘in-work poverty’ has been steadily increasing for several years. This is partly due to more people finding employment, which is good news, but low pay and reductions in social security payments mean that people don’t necessarily move out of poverty.

Fairer Scotland

Promoting social inclusion and combating poverty and discrimination are key priorities in the 2014-2020 European Social Fund (ESF) Programme.  The £9.7m Social Economy Development Programme and £18.9m Aspiring Communities are part-funded by ESF and Scottish Government and support delivery of the Fairer Scotland Action Plan (Action 4).

The Fairer Scotland Action Plan makes it clear that we must work together to help create a fairer country.  What we really want to do is change deep seated, multi-generational, deprivation, poverty and inequalities.  The plan sets out 50 selected actions that contribute to creating a fairer country – one with low levels of poverty and inequality, genuine equality of opportunity, stronger life chances and support for all those who need it.

Investing in Scotland’s Third Sector/Social Economy

Scotland’s social economy or third sector  includes  voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises.  We recognise and welcome the important role the sector plays in addressing poverty and disadvantage.  We will use ESF, matched by our own resources, to invest in and strengthen Scotland’s social economy, enabling organisations to do even more to transform the lives of  disadvantaged individuals and families. 


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