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Poverty in Scotland

Sime, Daniela (2015) Poverty in Scotland. In: Poor Europe. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego, Katowice, pp. 1-16. ISBN 9788380125810

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This chapter gives an overview of current developments and approaches to tackling poverty and social inequalities in Scotland and examines how the problem of poverty has been reflected in current welfare debates, which were central to the Independence Referendum which took place in 2014. Scotland is a small country, with a population of just over 5 million people at the last Census in 2011. The last fifteen years have seen a profound transformation in Scotland’s political landscape. Since the devolved Parliament established in 1999, the issue of a ‘fairer Scotland’ which could break away from the Westminster-based Parliament and manage its own resources has remained a constant aspect of political and public debate. Poverty rates in Scotland remain higher than in other European countries, with about 20 percent of its population living in poverty, despite Scotland being among the richest OECD countries. When compared with other small European countries like Denmark, Norway, and Netherlands, where only about 10 percent of people live in poverty, poverty levels in Scotland have often been described as ‘shocking’ and ‘unacceptable’.