Publication - Impact assessment

Scottish Budget 2020-2021: Equality and Fairer Scotland budget statement

This report assesses the Equality and Fairer Scotland impacts of the Scottish Budget 2020 to 2021.

168 page PDF

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168 page PDF

4.7 MB

Scottish Budget 2020-2021: Equality and Fairer Scotland budget statement
Chapter 4 Communities and Local Government

168 page PDF

4.7 MB

Chapter 4 Communities and Local Government


The Communities and Local Government portfolio aims to promote social justice, tackle poverty and inequalities, deliver affordable homes and ensure community empowerment and participation to deliver better wellbeing and outcomes for people through the places and communities in which they live. It also provides resources for local government to deliver services and take forward their local priorities.

As this chapter demonstrates, the portfolio's budget will deliver significant positive impacts for people with protected characteristics and those experiencing socio-economic disadvantage, as well as tackling existing inequalities.

The table below shows a breakdown of this portfolio's budget over the period of 2018-21. It should be noted that the figures here include total operating costs.[1] The equalities impacts of staffing costs are considered separately, in Chapter 3.

Spending Plans (Levels 2 and 3)

Level 2
Level 3
2018-19 Budget
2019-20 Budget
2020-21 Budget
Planning and Building Standards[2] 7.6 9.5 12.4
Architecture and Place 1.4 1.4 1.4
Building Standards 0.3 0.9 2.0
Planning 5.2 6.5 8.3
Planning and Environmental Appeals 0.7 0.7 0.7
Third Sector 24.5 24.9 24.6
Governance and Reform 1.2 5.6 4.5
Governance and Local Taxation 0.5 0.5 0.5
Public Service Reform and Community Empowerment 0.7 5.1 4.0[3]
Connected Communities[4] - - 4.4
Housing 893.6 967.2 1,092.1
More Homes 722.5 788.7 896.2
Fuel Poverty/Energy Efficiency 116.3 119.6 137.1
Housing Support 51.2 52.7 52.7
Communities Analysis 3.6 6.2 6.2
Social Justice, Regeneration and Scottish Child Payment[5] 76.1 66.9 97.9
Social Justice[6] 27.8 24.6 29.5
Scottish Child Payment[7] - - 21.0
Regeneration 48.3 42.3 47.4
Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator 3.0 3.3 3.3
Scottish Housing Regulator 4.7 4.5 4.3
Local Government 10,519.6 10,872.9[8] 10,910.7
Total Communities and Local Government 11,530.3 11,954.8 12,154.3

Key Inequalities of Outcome

This portfolio is primarily concerned with tackling poverty and inequality, improving local communities, and delivering affordable housing. This analysis of outcomes identifies where there are specific inequalities for equality groups relevant to the Communities and Local Government budget context.

Prevalence of poverty is high for children with 24% of children in relative poverty after housing costs in 2015-18. Children in one or more of the six priority groups for tackling child poverty are at an even higher risk of poverty.[9] Work is not always a route out of poverty, with 60% of the working-age adults in relative poverty living in working households. Disabled people, including people with mental health conditions, Muslim adults, and people from minority ethnic groups are all more likely to live in relative poverty. Overall, it is estimated that 20% of Scotland's population were living in relative poverty after housing costs in 2015-18.[10]

Income is measured at a household level, which makes it difficult to measure the poverty rate for individual adults living with a partner, but we know that single women are more likely to be in poverty than single men among both the working-age and pensioner populations. Young mothers and lone parents[11] (the majority of whom are women) are also disproportionately likely to have low incomes.[12] This is one example of how having multiple protected characteristics (such as being young, female and a mother) can exacerbate the disadvantage that individuals experience.

Similar trends are reflected in the data on food insecurity. The prevalence of food insecurity is higher among certain groups of people, such as those who are younger, live in the most deprived areas and/or are disabled.[13]

There are differences in prevalence of tenure for different groups; households with a disabled adult and lone parents[14] are much more likely than the Scottish average to rent in the social sectors; whereas some groups, such as those who are older (of pensionable age) and live with another adult and/or those who identify as White Scottish or other British, are more likely to own their home.[15] For example, overall 65% of adults owned their home in 2018, but while this was higher for those who identified as White Scottish (68%) or White other British (70%), it was lower for other ethnicities, in particular for African, Caribbean or Black (24%) and White Polish (27%) people. There are advantages and disadvantages to renting over owning but one key advantage to owning is that the household can accrue property wealth. Wealth inequality remains high.[16]

Having a satisfactory home in a neighbourhood where you feel welcome is a key element of wellbeing. Over nine in 10 households were very or fairly satisfied with their housing in 2018. Those who owned their home were more likely to be very or fairly satisfied (95%) than those in privately rented (83%) or social rented housing (82%).[17]

In 2018-19 there were 36,465 homelessness applications, made by a household without a permanent home.[18] This represents a 3% increase on the previous reporting year. The majority of homelessness applications in 2018-19 were made by a main applicant who was between 25 and 49 years old (62%).[19] Just over half had a main applicant who was male (54%). The most common reason for female applicants making a homeless application was a violent or abusive dispute within the household, accounting for a fifth (22%) of applications. Almost three-quarters of those who slept rough in the 3 months before making a homeless application were single males. Households of African ethnicity on average spend longest in temporary accommodation (247 days), followed by Caribbean or Black households (226 days); the overall average was 180 days.

The relationship between housing, homelessness and poverty has two dimensions: the impact of housing costs on disposable income and poverty rates, and the impact of poverty on the housing conditions that the household can afford. Housing costs are a key driver of poverty, especially among single adults and families with children.[20] Social rented housing tends to be the lowest cost housing. Low-income households in private renting are most at risk of being pushed into poverty.

Low-income households have less housing choice either because they are seeking housing within the constrained social rented sector or because they are limited by their income to accepting a smaller size property compared to their family, a less convenient or attractive location, or a property in poorer condition. Poor housing conditions may also have a negative impact on people's health, wellbeing and life chances, especially for children.[21] Similarly, those living in a deprived area or living in social housing are more at risk of disadvantage across a number of domains. For example, they are more likely to be excluded from digital services, even though an increase in broadband access at home has been registered in the last few years among social tenants (up from 42% in 2014 to 62% in 2017).[22]

In 2018, 25% of households in Scotland (around 619,000 households) were in fuel poverty.[23] We know there is an equality dimension to this, with older households and households without children having a higher fuel poverty rate than families. In 2018 the level of extreme fuel poverty remained similar to 2017: 11.3% (or 279,000 households) experienced extreme fuel poverty in 2018, compared to 11.9% (or 293,000 households) in 2017. While fuel poverty rates for households in urban and rural areas were similar (25% and 27% respectively), extreme fuel poverty rates were higher for households in rural areas (17%) compared to urban areas (10%).

A majority of adults described their neighbourhood as a very good place to live in 2018 (57%), but those with lower incomes were less likely to perceive their neighbourhood in the most positive terms.[24] Just over half of adults (51%) in the lowest income decile rated their area as a very good place to live, compared to more than two-thirds (69%) in the highest income decile.

The proportion of people in Scotland agreeing that they can influence decisions affecting their local area is relatively low, at 20% in 2018.[25] Those with the lowest and highest incomes have similar levels of agreement (18% of those on in the lowest income decile in 2018 and 22% of those in the highest income decile).[26] In previous years the gap in the levels of agreement between the highest and lowest income bands has been larger. The vast majority of people living in Scotland thought that people should be involved in making decisions about how local public services are planned and run (96% in 2015).[27]

The majority of hate crimes recorded by police are aggravated by race. Two-thirds (67%) of the 6,736 hate crimes recorded in 2017-18 included a race aggravator, 16% a sexual orientation aggravator, 7% a religion aggravator, 4% a disability aggravator and 1% a transgender identity aggravator.[28] The remaining 5% had multiple hate aggravators. Since 2014-15, the number of hate crimes recorded has fluctuated between 6,600 and 7,000 (to the nearest 100).

Key Strategic Budget Priorities

The Communities and Local Government portfolio is at the heart of improving outcomes for all. Community-led solutions deliver projects and services specific to local needs and aspirations through collaborative partnerships and are the route through which improved economic, social and environmental outcomes can be achieved. Scottish Government funding through this portfolio also represents the vast majority of local authority income, paying for a wide range of services that are co-ordinated and delivered at a local level to meet locally agreed outcomes.

This portfolio contributes in particular to the following national outcomes:

  • We live in communities that are inclusive, empowered, resilient and safe.
  • We tackle poverty by sharing opportunities, wealth and power more equally.


This portfolio aims to ensure that everyone in Scotland has access to good quality housing. More affordable homes, more energy efficient homes, warmer homes and adaptations to existing homes to address the needs of older and disabled people, together with tackling homelessness through transformational change, are among the aims of the housing spend. We will continue to improve the energy efficiency of homes, especially for those in fuel poverty, as we tackle the climate emergency through increased investment. We will work to eradicate homelessness and rough sleeping, putting into action the recommendations from the Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Action Group.

Backed with investment of over £3.3 billion (£843.7 million in 2020-21) the Scottish Government's Affordable Housing Supply Programme (AHSP) supports our ambitious target to deliver 50,000 affordable homes over the current parliamentary period, 35,000 of which will be for social rent which we are on track to achieve. The AHSP, part of the More Homes Scotland approach, supports the increase in homes across all tenures including social, mid-market rent and low-cost home ownership homes. The social rented sector is a particularly important tenure for lone parent households and long-term sick and disabled people among others. The supply of affordable housing is key in tackling child poverty and ending homelessness. We are working with the social housing sector to agree the best ways to keep rents affordable as the lower rents in this sector play an important role in protecting the after-housing-costs income of lower-income households.

We will continue to support people to purchase their own home with the support of an equity stake from the Scottish Government. This includes ongoing funding for the Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE) Scheme in 2020-21. OMSE is available to help all first-time buyers, who tend to be younger than existing homeowners, with around three-quarters of OMSE purchasers aged 35 or under. Priority access to the scheme is given to those who may otherwise be disadvantaged in accessing home ownership. OMSE priority groups include disabled people, people aged 60 and over, armed forces personnel, veterans and social tenants.

The new £150 million First Home Fund launched in December 2019 will run until March 2021. It provides first-time buyers with up to £25,000 towards the purchase of their first home, helping them buy a property that meets their needs and is where they want to live. It is a pilot scheme and will be evaluated to help inform decisions around future support for homebuyers in Scotland. The scheme is open to all first-time buyers and we have not yet identified any anticipated impacts on inequalities.

In 2020-21, the overall budget for fuel poverty and domestic energy efficiency will be increased to £137.1 million. Work to tackle fuel poverty and support those who need it the most will remain a priority. Within the fuel poverty and domestic energy efficiency budget, we are continuing to meet the commitment in the 2016 'Programme for Government' to provide £0.5 billion for energy efficiency over 4 years. This fund targets vulnerable households in fuel poverty or at risk of fuel poverty and some key equality groups are more likely than other groups to experience fuel poverty at present.

Area Based Schemes Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland (HEEPS: ABS) is a fund (£56 million in 2020-21) addressed to local authorities in order to develop and deliver energy efficiency programmes in areas with high levels of fuel poverty. HEEPS funding is targeted at those in fuel poverty, often people living in poverty and in deprived areas. Warmer Homes Scotland (HEEPS: WHS, £26 million in 2020-21), a scheme launched in 2015, is available to vulnerable private sector households, tenants or owner-occupiers, including those living in more remote parts of the country, and aims to improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel bills at the same time. HEEPS measures were delivered to over 15,500 households across Scotland in 2017-18.[29]

The eligibility criteria for WHS have been designed to target help at people on income-related benefits who have children, are disabled, are over retirement age and have a broken heating system, and those aged over 75 years old. We expect to help around 3,500 households per annum to make their house warmer and more comfortable by installing a range of energy-saving measures. Over 17,000 homes had received support through WHS by the end of December 2019.

The Scottish Government will continue to fund Home Energy Scotland (HES), enabling continuing links with national partners targeting groups experiencing, or at risk of, fuel poverty, including older people and disabled people. We have rolled out the HES Homecare scheme across Scotland, providing ongoing intensive support to particularly vulnerable fuel-poor households. This funding will also support the development of the 'Fuel Poverty Strategy' that will consider the characteristics of fuel-poor homes and develop tailored policies to support specific groups.

We have created an Ending Homelessness Together Fund of £50 million over 2018-23 to support prevention initiatives and our objectives of eradicating rough sleeping, transforming temporary accommodation and ending homelessness. We have drawn on this Fund to invest £32.5 million in the delivery of Rapid Rehousing and Housing First, to support households to access and maintain settled accommodation, including those with complex support needs. This investment should also ensure that significantly fewer people spend time in temporary accommodation, and that those who do require temporary accommodation spend significantly less time there before moving on to an appropriate settled home. We have required local authorities' Rapid Rehousing Transition Plans to be based on the results of equality impact assessments and we are working with stakeholders to identify gender-informed, targeted actions to ensure that women and children facing homelessness receive effective support.

We are also creating a new Homelessness Fund for third sector organisations, to innovate and transform the homelessness services they provide. This includes providing new accommodation models to respond better to people with multiple and complex needs or to develop cross-area partnerships to better integrate services around individuals. Applications to the Homelessness Fund will be invited which specifically ensure a clear, effective focus on preventing and responding effectively to homelessness amongst women and applicants will be required to demonstrate their assessment of the equality impacts of their proposal. Alongside this, the Scottish Government committed within the 'Programme for Government 2019-20' to introduce a Homelessness Prevention Fund, with funding drawn from the Ending Homelessness Together Fund and the Tackling Child Poverty Fund, which will strengthen the work of social landlords in supporting low-income families in social housing to prevent crisis points and avoid homelessness.

Planning and Building Standards

This portfolio also supports the operation of the planning system and the wider programme of planning reform to support inclusive growth and create great places for people and communities. It further delivers improvements to the quality and safety of the built environment, including research on developments in technology, building design and architecture, as well as supporting the practical promotion of good design in place-making and good architecture.

The Architecture and Place budget (£1.4 million) sustains Architecture and Design Scotland, the statutory body supporting practical promotion of good design in place-making and good architecture. Its work has a strong emphasis on community empowerment, supporting involvement in the design of places and furthering the right to be heard, particularly for seldom-heard groups. Its priorities also include bringing life back to stalled or vacant spaces and supporting opportunities for town centre living, including providing a design service which looks at town centres as caring places for older people.

The Level 3 Planning budget, meanwhile, supports the development of Scotland's fourth National Planning Framework (NPF4). This will be a key priority in 2020. One of its six central outcomes is improving equality and eliminating discrimination. It also increases opportunities for community engagement and place-based outcomes, including community-led local place plans and scaling up the Place Standard tool, which plays a wider role in reducing inequalities by helping to ensure that everyone lives in good quality places that support quality of life. This budget also supports PAS (£0.3 million) who give a free advice service on the Scottish planning system and support communities to engage in place-based planning, as well as working with communities and interest groups across Scotland, including seldom-heard groups, to build their capacity to participate and engage in the planning process.

Social Justice, Regeneration and Scottish Child Payment

Building a fairer and more equal country is at the heart of the Scottish Government's ambitions, and the Social Justice budget is key to this. It works to tackle poverty and disadvantage, and we know that people with some protected characteristics have a much higher risk of poverty, as outlined above. In 2020-21, the Social Justice, Regeneration and Scottish Child Payment budget is £97.9 million, representing an overall increase from 2019-20.

This budget has a central role in tackling child poverty. It primarily includes anticipated awards from the start of the Scottish Child Payment (£21 million), for low-income households with a child under 6, ahead of its wider roll-out. The Scottish Child Payment, when fully rolled out, is estimated to reduce relative child poverty by three percentage points overall with greater impact for some priority groups.[30] It will also help prevent poverty for families on insecure incomes just above the poverty threshold, as well as children at risk of material deprivation, another of our targets. The budget will increase in line with payment roll-out.

This budget also continues investment from the £50 million Tackling Child Poverty Fund across 2018-22 and supports the first 'Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan' through a range of initiatives from policy areas across the Scottish Government. These actions aim to impact on the three key drivers of child poverty reduction: increasing income from work and earnings; reducing household costs; and maximising income from social security. The Delivery Plan identifies six priority groups, as listed below, and spend in this area is therefore particularly likely to have positive impacts for women, disabled people, and minority ethnic groups.

  • Minority ethnic families.
  • Families with a disabled adult or child.
  • Large families (with three or more children).
  • Families with a child under one year old.
  • Lone parents.
  • Mothers under the age of 25.

The first annual progress report against the Delivery Plan was published in June 2019, with the second report due by the end of June 2020.

Following the successful harmonisation of the Fair Food Transformation Fund into the Investing in Communities Fund, we will continue to tackle the causes of food insecurity and support communities to deliver dignified responses through our £2.5 million Fair Food Fund in 2020-21. £2 million of the fund will go specifically to tackling food insecurity during the school holidays, benefiting children in particular. We will also work with partners to improve access to free period products for those who need them in community settings.

We will continue to invest in regeneration activity to help build environmentally, economically and socially sustainable communities. Regeneration activities are targeted towards Scotland's most disadvantaged and fragile communities and used to promote inclusive growth. Community involvement in the development and delivery of different regeneration projects ensures that local needs and ambitions are taken forward, which includes tackling issues around inequality, promoting improved opportunities, and wellbeing for all. We also know that there are strong links between poverty, equality and place, so investment in community-led regeneration, taking a place-based approach, is key to addressing these issues in a joined-up and focused way.

Therefore, we will continue to invest capital in regeneration through the annual Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RCGF), Vacant and Derelict Land Fund, Scottish Partnership for Regeneration in Urban Centres (SPRUCE), and our ongoing sponsorship of Clyde Gateway to generate inclusive growth and employment to tackle poverty and inequality and improve the outlook and outcomes for local people.

We also continue to build upon the actions set out in our Town Centre Action Plan through Scotland's Towns Partnership to provide information, support and services which contribute to the vibrancy, vitality and viability of our town centres and neighbourhoods, and to support the development of partnerships including Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). There are presently 39 BIDs operational in Scotland enabling local business partnerships to vote to invest collectively to deliver improvements and create platforms for local economic growth. A further 14 BIDs are in development. This work supports and promotes town centre living, contributing to Inclusive Growth and creating opportunities for all parts of Scotland.

We believe strongly in supporting communities to tackle poverty on their own terms. Through our Empowering Communities Programme we are supporting over 320 community organisations to deliver locally identified priorities to tackle poverty and inequality in a responsive way. The fund impacts on thousands of lives across the country, supporting community-led approaches that build community capacity and resilience and supporting people in those communities with projects and services addressing a wide range of issues, including money advice, food insecurity, childcare, training and upskilling, healthy eating initiatives and volunteering opportunities. Part of this programme is the Investing in Communities Fund (£11.5 million) to help mitigate the impacts of disadvantage, poverty and inequality on local communities and to support people who live there to develop long-term solutions. The fund will help a wide range of people experiencing disadvantage, including children, young people, families and older people. It may also include specific groups such as young carers, disabled people, and vulnerable families, including those in poverty. By encouraging a participatory budgeting (PB) approach, communities can work better together to address the needs of their community since a truly inclusive and deliberative PB approach can help meaningfully address poverty and inequality. The Scottish Government is working with COSLA to support local authorities to reach the target of having at least 1% of their budget subject to PB by 2020-21, giving tens of thousands of people a say in how almost £100 million will be spent.

The Scottish Government is continuing match-funding of the Aspiring Communities Fund supported by the European Social Fund in 2020-21, with total investment of up to £24.8 million over 4 years (previously £18.9 million over 3 years). The fund is helping third sector and community bodies deliver long-term local solutions that address local priorities and needs to reduce poverty, enable inclusive growth and promote social inclusion.

Third Sector

This portfolio makes a strategic investment in supporting the third sector, which delivers essential services, improves people's wellbeing and contributes right across the National Performance Framework. The third sector also plays a significant role as a key partner in delivering public service reform. It is estimated that the public sector as a whole accounts for around a third of the third sector's income, which supports the work of charities and social enterprises.[31] This dedicated Third Sector budget, which stands at £24.6 million for 2020-21, represents around 1% of total public sector investment in the third sector. The amount in this budget line is a slight reduction from 2019-20 as one fund comes to a natural end.

People experiencing socio-economic disadvantage are further disadvantaged by the 'poverty premium' – for example, paying more for utility bills and barriers to accessing affordable credit. As non-profit, member-owned financial cooperatives providing ethical savings and loans at competitive rates, credit unions contribute to tackling poverty by sharing wealth more equally within communities. That is why this budget will also include funding to create a new Credit Union Investment Fund to increase the number of people saving and borrowing from credit unions.

Third sector organisations are uniquely positioned to deliver place-based change, widening participation, strengthening social capital and tackling inequality in a preventative way. This budget will include more than £8 million to support a network of 'Third Sector Interfaces' across Scotland. These interfaces are a single point of contact and support for all local third sector organisations.

There are around 1.2 million formal volunteers in Scotland giving up their time to help communities.[32] Volunteering can improve people's wellbeing and physical and mental health, as well as reduce isolation, strengthen networks and build social capital. Volunteers are more likely to be women and from rural areas. There is an under-representation of disadvantaged groups, including people from the most deprived and the lower socio-economic groups. This budget will provide £1.1 million to support third sector organisations who engage with those who experience disadvantage or face barriers to participation. Through our recent Volunteering Outcomes Framework and our response to the Youth Volunteering Innovation Project's recommendations we aim to ensure more people who face inequalities have the opportunity to volunteer, and we will publish a 'Volunteering Delivery Plan' by autumn 2020.

Social enterprises trade for the common good, reinvesting profits into a specific social or environmental mission. Since the launch of our 10-year 'Social Enterprise Strategy' in 2016, we have invested more than £26 million in this area and this year's Social Enterprise Census found more than 6,000 social enterprises now active in Scotland, an increase of 16% since 2015. In order to continue to drive growth, this year's budget includes £1.25 million for 'Just Enterprise' – a free, nation-wide business support service for social enterprise.

Connected Communities

This portfolio further helps create cohesive communities through investment in tackling hate crime, supporting interfaith dialogue and facilitating the integration of refugees and asylum seekers.

A 2019-20 'Programme for Government' commitment, the Hate Crime Bill is expected to be progressed through Parliament following its introduction this parliamentary session. We will work closely with the Justice portfolio and ensure that this Bill updates and modernises the current law on hate crime so that it is fit for 21st-century Scotland and, most importantly, affords sufficient protection for those that need it.

We will continue to provide support for the infrastructure and capacity of faith communities, promoting Interfaith Week, and developing inter-faith relations and dialogue through the annual Interfaith Summit. This will help facilitate stronger connections within and across communities and encourage diversity to be increasingly recognised and valued. A Places of Worship Scheme will protect places of worship against hate crime (£0.25 million, with additional funding coming from the Justice portfolio).

The 'New Scots' strategy will continue to support refugees and asylum seekers, with a progress report being published in the spring. An anti-destitution strategy will also be published and delivered with COSLA to support those refugees and asylum seekers who are most at risk and who have no recourse to public funds (£0.5 million).

Governance and Reform

Through investment in governance and reform, this portfolio aims to promote sustainable public services which tackle inequality and support inclusive economic growth across Scotland. The work supported by this budget is not targeted directly at addressing specific examples of inequality affecting particular sections of the community, but instead directly promotes and supports an overarching culture and focus for public sector leaders and staff, linked to our National Performance Framework, that emphasises the importance of improving outcomes, opportunities and empowerment, particularly for the most disadvantaged and marginalised people and communities across Scotland.

For instance, the Local Governance Review will devolve more power to more local levels. A wide range of voices, including those from Scotland's most marginalised groups, have been heard during engagement that will inform our work in 2020 to develop the type of arrangements that will best enable greater levels of community decision making, including how to ensure that new approaches enhance equality and human rights.

Local Government

Local government provides a wide range of services. Local authorities play a major role in delivering specific outcomes that matter to communities within their areas, both directly and in collaboration with other local public services and community bodies, for instance through Health and Social Care Partnerships and Community Planning Partnerships.

The funding provided by the Scottish Government represents the vast majority of local authorities' income, and is allocated using a relative needs-based formula. This methodology takes account of demographics, disadvantage and various other considerations including age, disability and levels of deprivation. However, each local authority decides how to spend its total available finances based on its understanding of local needs and priorities, guided by a set of national and local outcomes. The 'Equality Act 2010' and associated specific duties published in May 2012 provide a framework to help local authorities pay due regard to equality issues and the Fairer Scotland Duty provides a framework to help local authorities tackle inequality. Local authorities have complete autonomy to allocate 91% of the total funding provided by the Scottish Government based on local circumstances. No further analysis of this funding will be undertaken.

The remaining funding is provided for specific key Scottish Government policy initiatives including the Pupil Equity Funding (PEF), Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) entitlement expansion to 1,140 hours and support for Health and Social Care through the Integration Joint Boards. These policies are each analysed by the responsible portfolio.

Equality Implications of The Scottish Budget 2020-21

This year we trialled using some different approaches to conduct a more focused and numeric analysis on the projected implications of the budget on equality for women, disabled people and minority ethnic people (as well as for those experiencing socio-economic disadvantage, as discussed in the final section). The findings are summarised below. The trial has had mixed results as noted in Chapter 2 and in some cases does not accurately reflect impacts. The implications for those with other protected characteristics were taken into account within this chapter as a whole.

This analysis excludes the Local Government, Scottish Housing Regulator and Office of Scottish Charity Regulator budgets, for which equalities impacts are assessed and monitored by those receiving the funding. The analysis is therefore relevant to £1.2 billion of the total £12.2 billion Communities and Local Government budget.


The analysis that we trialled this year identified a number of positive impacts for women from the spend in this portfolio. Overall, more positive impacts from this portfolio's spend were identified within the tool for the other groups assessed than for women, but as Chapter 2 sets out, this was largely related to the pre-filled key inequalities in the tool which did not include poverty or inequality of income for women as it did for the other three groups. Where we have evidence of the extent to which poverty is gendered, women are often more likely to be in poverty (such as single women among both the working-age and pensioner populations) and we therefore know that many of the areas of spend in this portfolio which are dedicated to tackling poverty will also be disproportionately beneficial for women. We also know that women are more likely to be disabled and it is therefore likely that spend lines which have positive impacts identified for disabled people may also benefit women more than men.[33] No negative impacts for women were identified from this portfolio's spend.

In particular, spend on Social Justice, Regeneration and Scottish Child Payment, Housing, and the Third Sector was found likely to have positive impacts on gender equality. For example, the Scottish Child Payment (£21 million in 2020-21) is likely to have positive impacts for women, who are more likely to be primary caregivers, and especially for lone parents (who are primarily women) and young mothers. Social Security Scotland will administer the Payment, and further analysis of the projected impacts of the Payment can therefore be found in Chapter 14.

Two-thirds of the social enterprises that responded to the Social Enterprise Census 2019 were led by a woman, and 54% of Trustees/Board Members were women, which suggests that the Third Sector budget may be supporting more women into positions of power and leadership.[34] The Social Justice budget funds a range of programmes to increase parents' income from employment and earnings, and analysis has indicated that lone parents (87% women in 2011)[35] are among those who would benefit most from the support offered through this investment. Programmes include the Workplace Equality Fund to enable businesses with innovative ideas to embed dimensions of the Fair Work Framework in their workplaces and a contribution to the Family Friendly Working Scotland (FFWS) Partnership which supports and promotes the development of family-friendly workplaces across Scotland.

The main aim of the More Homes Scotland approach is to increase the supply of homes across all tenures, including the largest part of the spend addressed specifically to social housing supply. This is likely to have a positive impact on women's housing situation as women were more likely to live in social housing compared to men (56% versus 46% respectively), according to the latest statistics of social tenants.[36]

Homelessness statistics show that the main reason women make homelessness applications is due to a violent or abuse dispute within the household.[37] We are therefore developing a domestic abuse prevention pathway, which will aim to prevent homelessness as a result of domestic abuse. There is no dedicated separate spend attached to this work at the moment; it will be taken forwards through tailoring existing programmes. Current spend on homelessness was also already found to be having a positive impact on tackling homelessness among women, and funding provided through the Homelessness Fund for third sector organisations may help further tackle this. Households with children or pregnant women were mainly provided with local authority or housing association accommodation (82%), with a small proportion (1%) being placed in bed and breakfast accommodation.[38] Single female households were also more likely to be assessed as having a support need (57%), with a mental health problem identified in 31% of cases.[39] We also know that women, and particularly single mothers, are still being housed in temporary accommodation for too long with over half of all breaches in 2018-19 of the Unsuitable Accommodation Order, designed to protect families with children, affecting female lone-parent households. Through our targeted investment in a transition to a rapid rehousing approach and work on preventing homelessness as a result of domestic abuse, the Housing Support budget will continue working to reduce the number of women and children being housed in temporary accommodation and the length of time that those who do require it spend there. Through our work with stakeholders to identify gender-informed, targeted homelessness actions we will also develop more robust data on women's homelessness and plug gaps that exist in our evidence base.

PAS and Architecture and Design Scotland, both funded through the Planning budget, are individually tackling women's underrepresentation in positions of power or leadership: PAS has a gender-equal board, while the Chair, the majority of board members, and half of the Directors of Architecture and Design Scotland are women.[40] This year's budget will cover the implementation of the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019 and the development of the new National Planning Framework. Both of these were supported by EQIAs which involved engagement with gender stakeholders.

The Communities Analysis spend is also a key part of ensuring that Scotland has rigorous data on how women, as well as those with other protected characteristics, experience different outcomes, in turn allowing us to communicate and tackle inequalities identified. Much of the evidence presented in the overview above was funded through this budget, such as the Scottish Household Survey and poverty and inequality statistics. In 2020, research and analysis funded through this budget will be used to collect data and to produce an index to track gender equality in Scotland.

Overall, 25.2% of the £1.2 billion in Level 3 budget lines analysed in this portfolio as part of this year's trial was considered likely to have a positive impact on gender equality in at least one area of identified inequality, with the rest being neutral. As noted above, we know that this figure substantially under-represents the positive impact of this budget on women. We know that women are more likely to be in poverty (where we have evidence of the extent to which poverty is gendered) and living in social housing, but as these particular inequalities of outcome were not included as part of this year's analysis, much of the spend which impacts on poverty or social housing is not included in the figure above. When including the positive impacts for women of the Scottish Child Payment as well as policies such as More Homes, for example, the figure will be much higher.


A wide range of positive impacts for disabled people from the spend in this portfolio were identified. In particular, spend on Housing, Social Justice, Regeneration and Scottish Child Payment and the Third Sector was found likely to have positive impacts on equality for disabled people. For example, the Affordable Housing Supply Programme, part of the More Homes Scotland approach, supports the delivery of specialist housing, helping disabled people with more complex needs live independently in their own homes and for older people to stay in their own homes for longer.[41] In 2019 the Scottish Government published guidance for local authorities that requires them to set targets across all housing tenures for the delivery of wheelchair-accessible homes and to report on their progress annually. In 2018-19, 922 homes were purpose-built for older people or disabled people, including 268 identified as specifically designed for wheelchair users.[42]

Despite the positive progress, there remains a shortage of accessible and wheelchair-accessible housing.[43] In 2016, 12% of all households with a person with a long-term physical or mental health condition or illness indicated that they required adaptations to their home, a similar proportion as in the previous year. This proportion increased to 16% for those in social rented accommodation.[44]

The Affordable Housing Supply Programme supports the delivery of flexible housing capable of being adapted to suit peoples' changing requirements. Wherever possible, all units are built to Housing for Varying Needs standards. Funding provided to Registered Social Landlords to carry out housing adaptations that help older and disabled tenants to live safely and independently at home will be maintained at £10 million for 2020-21. Disabled people are more likely to live in social rented housing and the fund for adaptations may help them live safely and independently.[45]

Recent statistics show that the numbers of people making homelessness applications who report having a support need is increasing.[46] This includes people with a learning disability, physical impairment, medical condition, drug or alcohol dependencies, mental health problem or basic housing management support needs. This underlines the importance of embedding a person-centred approach, and may also indicate a rise in complex situations. We know that resolving homelessness requires much more than simply housing for many people. The range of needs captured in the official statistics demonstrates the importance of joined-up working across housing, health, social care and education services. We are funding Shelter Scotland to develop a Personal Housing Plan approach which will ensure that person-centred support is provided.

Since poverty is more likely to affect those with a disabled person in their household, spend on tackling child poverty, and notably the Scottish Child Payment, is likely to have particularly positive impacts for disabled people.

The Third Sector budget supports social enterprises, of which two-thirds of those that responded to the Social Enterprise Census 2019 support people with physical and/or learning disabilities.[47] A significant proportion of social enterprises indicated that they have key objectives related to improving health and wellbeing, creating employment opportunities, promoting learning or education, providing training for employment, tackling poverty and financial exclusion and providing affordable housing – all areas in which disabled people currently experience inequalities of outcome.

Overall, 99.5% of the £1.2 billion in Level 3 budget lines analysed in this portfolio was considered likely to have a positive impact on equality for disabled people in at least one area of identified inequality.


Positive impacts for minority ethnic individuals were identified across a number of budget lines in this portfolio. Due to smaller sample sizes, data does not tend to be broken down by ethnicity as frequently as by gender, age or disability, for example, so it can be more challenging to identify evidence of positive impacts for those of minority ethnicities. Nevertheless, we identified likely or confirmed positive impacts for minority ethnic people from spend on Housing, Third Sector and Social Justice, Regeneration and Scottish Child Payment in particular.

Minority ethnic families are one of the six priority groups identified in the 'Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan', with minority ethnic children more likely to be in relative poverty after housing costs (40% vs 24% for all children). Scottish minority ethnic parents in work are paid less per hour and are more likely to be underemployed.[48] There is also a higher percentage of workless households among minority ethnic populations. The programmes funded by the Social Justice budget to support parents to increase income from employment and earnings, including continued investment in new parental employability support, are expected to benefit minority ethnic parents. Spend on the Scottish Child Payment is also likely to have particularly positive impacts for minority ethnic families.

Almost 600 new volunteers from minority ethnic communities were recruited in the first year of the Volunteering Support Fund (VSF).[49] We know that volunteering can help people access employment, and that it is particularly important in this regard for refugees.[50] The VSF will receive £1.1 million of funding in 2020-21. The Third Sector budget also provides support to CEMVO (Council of Ethnic Minority Voluntary Sector Organisations) to deliver a specific social enterprise incubation programme aimed at minority ethnic communities.

We know that Gypsy/Travellers are more likely to live in unsuitable housing, and only 40% of planning applications for private Gypsy/Traveller sites were approved over the last 10-15 years.[51] The Scottish Government has been working towards a 10-point action plan to involve Gypsy/Travellers in planning.[52] PAS have also developed specific targeted training for the Gypsy/Traveller community to help them engage more effectively in the development of places.

Homelessness policies can have a positive impact on ethnic groups. Caribbean or Black households are most likely to secure settled accommodation (81% of cases), while the figure for Asian, Asian Scottish or Asian British was just 69%.[53] By targeting investment at a transition to rapid rehousing approach we will ensure that the budget continues to support those of minority ethnicities into settled accommodation.

Overall, 99.4% of the £1.2 billion in Level 3 budget lines analysed in this portfolio was considered likely to have a positive impact on equality for minority ethnic people in at least one area of identified inequality, with the rest being neutral. No budget lines identified negative impacts.

Fairer Scotland Implications of The Scottish Budget 2020-21

The spend from this portfolio has particularly positive impacts for those experiencing socio-economic disadvantage. Many of the positive impacts identified were in the areas of health, skills and educational attainment, satisfaction with housing and neighbourhood, influence over local decisions, and the proportion of income spent on cost of living. In particular, spend on Housing, Social Justice, Regeneration and Scottish Child Payment and the Third Sector was found likely to have positive impacts on those experiencing inequality.

The biggest housing spend aims at increasing affordable homes supply in Scotland across all housing tenures. Fifty thousand affordable homes, including social housing, are addressed mainly to low-to-modest income households and will help tackle child poverty. Regeneration programme funds are aimed at people living in disadvantaged and deprived areas.

The Finance, Economy and Fair Work portfolio funds Fair Start Scotland. This voluntary employability service aims to meet the needs of those who face a range of challenges in obtaining work. The Communities and Local Government portfolio will continue investment through our package of parental employability support (part of the Tackling Child Poverty Fund) specifically to support low-income parents to engage and progress towards work, and to support those in work to increase their earnings.

Over 500 new volunteers on low incomes were recruited in the first year of the Volunteering Support Fund (VSF). This fund will receive £1.1 million from the 2020-21 budget.[54] There is evidence that volunteering plays a key role in developing both soft and hard skills,[55] and case studies within the year one report give examples of how the opportunities provided by VSF are helping those living with poverty or deprivation to gain skills and employment. Evidence also shows that volunteering has a range of mental and physical health benefits for volunteers, and that these tend to be stronger the greater the level of disadvantage the individual suffers.[56] The Third Sector budget also supports social enterprises, of which 69% of those who responded to the 2019 Census employ previously unemployed people, 69% provide training or support intended to improve employability, and 31% have 'providing training for employment' as one of their main goals.[57]

Provision of access to free period products is also reducing the amount of their income that some of those (mainly women) experiencing poverty have to put towards essential items.[58] As of December 2019, almost 60,000 low-income and vulnerable women were benefiting from receiving period products via our FareShare-delivered project, which will continue to be funded in 2020-21.

The Scottish Child Payment (£21 million in 2020-21), when fully rolled out, is estimated to reduce child poverty by three percentage points overall with greater impact for some priority groups. Households with children under 6 years old made up 58% of all households with children in relative poverty after housing costs in 2015-18, so ensuring that they receive the Payment first is likely to reach a greater share of children in need.[59]

Spend on tackling child poverty also includes Children's Neighbourhoods Scotland (£0.8 million), which aims to bring together people and groups locally to agree a way of working that will help tackle the big issues that are making it difficult for children and young people to live happily and healthily, do well in school and achieve what they want in life. This programme will build on the experience of the first children's neighbourhood in Scotland in Bridgeton and Dalmarnock, which historically has one of the highest levels of socio-economic disadvantage in Glasgow and in Scotland, and develop further sites for delivery of the service.

The Council Tax Reduction (CTR) Scheme (£357.5 million in 2020-21) continues to ensure that lower-income households are not required to meet council tax liabilities they cannot afford. Nearly half-a-million households received some level of CTR as of March 2019, and on average CTR recipients saved over £700 a year.[60] Lone parents accounted for 16% (78,180) of CTR recipients and 58% (275,800) of recipients lived in one of the 30% most deprived areas in Scotland. 37% (175,240) of CTR recipients were aged 65 or over.

Overall, 99.4% of the £1.2 billion in Level 3 budget lines analysed in this portfolio was considered likely to have a positive impact in at least one area of identified inequality for those experiencing socio-economic disadvantage.


Overall, the Communities and Local Government portfolio budget has the potential for significant positive impacts for equality groups and those experiencing socio-economic disadvantage, as well as to mitigate against existing inequalities. Local authority budgets continue to offer resource and fiscal flexibility, as well as reflecting key priorities of health and social care and educational attainment. Spend on affordable housing programmes has been maintained, along with commitments to provide more housing for social rent. Social Justice and Regeneration spend has been protected, ensuring that organisations in the field can continue to tackle poverty and remove barriers for equality groups. A key budget increase is identified to support the roll-out of the Scottish Child Payment, which will be instrumental in reducing child poverty. Spend which is new to this portfolio is dedicated to creating cohesive communities, while the Third Sector budget will continue to support organisations which deliver place-based change, widen participation, strengthen social capital and tackle inequality in a preventative way.


1. Total operating costs are all the core Scottish Government staff and associated operating costs incurred, plus a share of the costs, such as accommodation, IT, legal services and HR, which cannot be readily attributed to one portfolio.

2. Previously 'Planning'.

3. The apparent reduction in this line is due to some staff and associated operating costs being moved to the new Connected Communities Level 2 budget line.

4. This is a new Level 2 budget line for 2020-21. This spend was previously incorporated within Promoting Equality and Human Rights, under the Social Security and Older People portfolio.

5. Previously 'Social Justice and Regeneration'.

6. Previously 'Fairer Scotland'.

7. This is a new Level 3 budget line for 2020-21.

8. This figure was adjusted after the publication of the 2019-20 Scottish Budget.

9. Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2018-2022: Annex 3

10. Poverty and Income Inequality in Scotland: 2015-2018

11. Lone parents refers to a household where one adult is resident with the child. In the vast majority of cases lone parents are women. Children may or may not have an additional non-resident parent/guardian.

12. Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan 2018-2022: Annex 3

13. Scottish Health Survey 2017

14. Note: The definition of a lone parent does not make any distinction between situations where a child has regular contact and/or partly resides with their other parent and a child who solely resides with and is cared for by one parent.

15. Unpublished analysis of the Scottish Household Survey 2018

16. Wealth and Assets in Scotland: 2006-2018

17. Scottish Household Survey 2018

18. Homelessness in Scotland: 2018-19

19. Homelessness in Scotland: 2018 to 2019 – Equalities Breakdown

20. Rent Affordability in the Affordable Housing Sector: A Literature Review

21. Rent Affordability in the Affordable Housing Sector: A Literature Review

22. Realising Scotland's Full Potential in a Digital World: A Digital Strategy for Scotland

23. Scottish House Condition Survey: 2018 Key Findings

24. Scottish Household Survey 2018

25. Scottish Household Survey 2018

26. Unpublished analysis of the Scottish Household Survey 2018

27. Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, 2015: Attitudes to Social Networks, Civic Participation and Co-production

28. Hate Crime: Availability of Information Recorded by the Police in Scotland

29. Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland: delivery report 2017-18

30. Income Supplement: Analysis of Options

31. Third Sector Funding and Spending

32. Scottish Household Survey 2018: Annual Report ; Mid-2018 Population Estimates Scotland

33. Among those aged 16+, 34% of women and 29% of men in 2017 had limiting long-term conditions and would therefore be considered disabled. Source: Scottish Health Survey 2017: Volume One – Main Report.

34. Social Enterprise in Scotland, Census 2019. 1,107 eligible responses received from the population of 6,025 social enterprises.

35. Household Composition for Specific Groups of People in Scotland: Scotland's Census 2011.

36. Social tenants in Scotland 2017

37. Homelessness in Scotland: 2018 to 2019 – equalities breakdown

38. Is Scotland Fairer? 2018

39. Homelessness in Scotland: 2018 to 2019 – equalities breakdown

40. See and Architecture and Design Scotland's website and Annual Report and Accounts.

41. Affordable Housing Supply Programme Out-turn report 2018-19

42. Affordable Housing Supply Programme Out-turn report 2018-19

43. Housing and Disabled People: Scotland's Hidden Crisis

44. Is Scotland Fairer? 2018

45. Scottish Surveys Core Questions 2017 (Last updated: April 2019)

46. Homelessness in Scotland: 2018 to 2019

47. Social Enterprise in Scotland, Census 2019. 1,107 eligible responses received from the population of 6,025 social enterprises.

48. Tackling Child Poverty: First year progress report – Annex C

49. Volunteering Support Fund 2018-21. End of Year One Report: July 2018 - March 2019

50. The Contribution of Volunteering to Scotland's Health and Wellbeing

51. Gypsy/Traveller Sites in Scotland

52. Gypsy/Travellers and the Planning System: Action Plan

53. Homelessness in Scotland: 2018 to 2019 – equalities breakdown

54. Volunteering Support Fund 2018-21. End of Year One Report: July 2018 - March 2019

55. The Contribution of Volunteering to Scotland's Health and Wellbeing

56. Volunteering, Health and Wellbeing: What Does the Evidence Tell Us? and The Contribution of Volunteering to Scotland's Health and Wellbeing

57. Social Enterprise in Scotland, Census 2019. 1,107 eligible responses received from the population of 6,025 social enterprises

58. Access to sanitary products Aberdeen pilot: evaluation report

59. Additional Poverty Analysis – 2019 (Child poverty by whether there are under 5-year-olds or under 6-year-olds in the household - Family Resources Survey, 2015-2018)

60. Council Tax Reduction in Scotland, 2018-19