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Unequal Risks of Poverty Morag Gillespie, Scottish Poverty Information Unit School of Law and Social Sciences,

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Presentation on theme: "Unequal Risks of Poverty Morag Gillespie, Scottish Poverty Information Unit School of Law and Social Sciences,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Unequal Risks of Poverty Morag Gillespie, Scottish Poverty Information Unit School of Law and Social Sciences,

2 Scottish Poverty Information Unit Established 1995 Applied policy research unit in School of Law and Social Sciences at GCU In pursuit of the common weal Poverty is caused by the distribution of opportunities and resources rather than the lack of resources in society. Poverty can therefore be reduced or eradicated

3 Unequal Risks of Poverty Cycle of unemployment and low pay Structural inequalities Recession as equalising factor? Low pay, poverty and risk Recovery – who pays, who spends?

4 What is poverty? Definitions used absolute poverty: below 60% median income in 1998/99, adjusted for price inflation relative poverty: below 60% population income in the same year

5 Cycling in and out of work Ongoing issue: Transitions to work and benefits barriers E.g evaluation - NDLP 29% return to IS in 12 months, 7% on programme for 3 rd or subsequent time Persistent and severe child poverty – long-term on benefits and cycling between benefits and work Benefits reform and JCP programmes e.g. Employment Retention and Advancement

6 Employment rates in 2008 aged % Men78.7% White76.5% Women70.4% Aged % Minority ethnic groups60.5% Aged % DDA disabled people48.0%

7 Work and Gender Gender balance in Scottish labour force 50:50, but 41% women and 11% men work part-time Women and men in different industries and occupations Two thirds of vulnerable and low-paid workers are women Women, and particularly mothers, are more likely to be in insecure jobs as temps or home-workers. Mothers need flexibility, but trade-offs with rights and pay

8 The presence of children affects womens employment: With children No children Self-employed 5 4 Full-time employment Part-time employment Looking after home/family 26 6 Unemployed and seeking work3 4 Higher/further education 5 7 Permanently sick or disabled 2 8 Other 4 7 Source: Scotlands People: Results from the Scottish Household Survey 2007

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10 Old Age

11 Recession impact (2009) Private sector decline, public sector sustained; Men affected more than women; Non-white employment declined faster youth employment fell most in Scotland by 5.5%; by 1.5%; 50+ by 0.8% Future? Two stage recession? public sector spending cuts – impact on women

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14 Credit Crunch Rising home ownership/ record debt levels: borrowing £400bn (1993), £1,500 bn (2008) Falling house prices, reducing consumer confidence and spending Living costs? Fuel rising Risks of debt greatest for low income groups IPPR – quality of work matters

15 Who pays for the recession? More households relying on female (often part-time) employment Womens job loss in public sector Recovery of youth employment? Attitudes to equal treatment/ discrimination? Harsher benefits regimes and work tests? Cumulative disadvantage reinforced over life cycle Income inequality is a problem of poverty and wealth

16 Inequality matters Taxation changes Increase adult benefits Address access affordability (e.g. childcare) Resource allocation informed by equality analysis – address disadvantage Tackle low pay – improve NMW Tackle discrimination – work, education/ training Improve quality/ sustainability of work and progression Improve rights/ conditions for marginal or vulnerable workers


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