Tackling Child Poverty Delivery Plan: Second year progress report 2019-20: Annex B – Child poverty and its drivers in Scotland and the UK
Child poverty trends
Scotland has, for the last 20 years, had lower proportions of children in relative and absolute poverty after housing costs than the UK as a whole. The proportions in persistent poverty, and in combined low income and material deprivation, have also tended to be lower in Scotland.
The table below shows how relative child poverty after housing costs in Scotland compares to Northern Ireland, Wales and the regions of England.
|Yorkshire and the Humber||32%|
Income from employment
The average hourly earnings of low income households with children in Scotland is £8.17 per hour, compared to £8.14 per hour in the UK as a whole. The equivalent figures for all households with children are £12.65 in Scotland and £12.24 in the UK.
The percentage of children living in households where no adult is in paid employment is 11.1% in Scotland. This is slightly higher than the 9.8% of children living in households where no adult is in paid employment in the UK as a whole.
The average number of hours of paid employment per working-age adult, in low income households (bottom three income deciles) with children in Scotland is 23 hours per week, compared to 22 hours in the UK as a whole. The equivalent figures for all households with children are 32 hours in Scotland and 31 hours in the UK.
The percentage of parents who are in work but would prefer to work more hours for the same rate of pay in Scotland is 5.5%. This is approximately the same as the percentage for parents in the UK as a whole (6.2%).
The percentage of employed working age (16-64) parents with degrees who are in low or medium skilled occupations in Scotland is 16.8%. This is slightly lower than the equivalent figure of 17.8% for the UK as a whole.
The percentage of parents with no or low qualifications in Scotland is 8.7%, slightly lower than the rate for all parents in the UK (9.4%).
Cost of living
The percentage of income spent on housing by low income households (bottom three income deciles) with children in Scotland is 21%, compared to 26% for the UK as a whole. The figures for all households with children are 10% for Scotland and 14% for the UK.
Although child poverty after housing costs is lower in Scotland than in the UK as a whole, levels of poverty before housing costs have been taken into account are very similar between Scotland and the UK. Analysis by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation provides some insight into why this is the case. They concluded that lower housing costs in Scotland, particularly in the social rented sector, are a key cause of the divergence. In addition, compared to the rest of the UK, a higher proportion of people in Scotland live in the social rented sector, and a lower proportion in the private rented sector, and a slightly higher proportion own their property outright.
Other living costs
The costs required to heat a home adequately, as a percentage of net household income after housing costs, are higher for low income households with children in Scotland (15%) than in England (11.4%).
The percentage of income spent on food and non-alcoholic drinks by low income households with children in Scotland is 16.7%, compared to 15.3% for the UK as a whole. The equivalent figures for all households with children are 10.3% for Scotland and 10.4% for the UK.
The percentage of households with children that are in unmanageable debt in Scotland (4.5%) is lower than the UK-wide figure (7.6%).
Income from social security and benefits in kind
Most of the benefits with the potential to have the largest impact on child poverty are reserved to the UK government. However, a package of benefits has been devolved to the Scottish Government, eight of which have been introduced to date. These are more generous than the UK benefits they have replaced, or are new, with no direct equivalent in the UK Government social security system.