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Poverty

At the end of last year in The Holyrood magazine there were a series of posts asking Scottish based political leaders the question, What’s more important - tackling poverty, tackling inequality or mitigating the impact of poverty?


 Being born poor in order to be exploited as a waged slave,  creating wealth for the enjoyment and luxury of a parasitic economic class, or leading an existence full of poverty both relative and absolute can't fit in with the principle of healthy and meaningful living, can it ?


 In truth, the majority is impoverished. It is impoverished insofar as it has no other option than to sell its working abilities to those who monopolise the means of living and whose conspicuous wealth must irresistibly provide the very yardstick by which that poverty will be starkly exposed.

 This may not only be the poverty of material destitution. But if the measure of a human being consists in the accumulat…

Masters of War: A Scots firm named in Ukraine arms deal corruption probe

A Scots firm was named in Ukraine arms deal corruption probe in The Glasgow Herald on 27 January 2017. This is no surprise of course to hard headed socialists who know the nature of the capitalist beast.

 The overall death and destruction that took place during World War II may well be beyond human comprehension. Historians estimate that military casualties on all sides, in both the European and Pacific theaters, reached up to 25 million, and that civilian casualties ranged from 38 million to as high a figure as 55 million – meaning that somewhere between 3 and 4 percent of the world’s total population died in the conflict.

  Don't let us ever forget either, the war science practiced upon Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the 'Good Guys', despite how it is spun as, 'the end of war', as well as the potential for more of the same destruction being wreaked upon humanity as trade wars and sanctions, fuel blundering and conscious recourse to battles over raw ma…

Scots wha hae not

The number of children relying on food banks in one council area has jumped by almost a quarter in just three months.
Statistics compiled by Renfrewshire Council show the number of children receiving food bank help rose from 355 to 437 between July and September.
It said the rise coincided with benefit changes and payment delays and called for help from the Scottish government.
The Scottish government said it would continue to protect the most vulnerable from UK government cuts.
In the same three months, 947 food bank vouchers were issued by the council to 72 families and 149 single parents.
This is on top of figures which showed more than 7000 Scots were forced to use food banks in the week before Christmas. Low income was the biggest factor in 27 per cent of cases, while benefit delays were a factor in 24 per cent and 15 per cent were due to a benefit change. Ewan Gurr, Scotland network manager for the Trussell Trust, said:
“The message we are clearly hearing in our food banks …

Soup Kitchen Scotland

The number of people using food banks in Scotland has risen by two-thirds. A total of 117, 689 people - including more than 36,000 children - received a three-day supply of emergency food from the organisation last year. That was a 65% increase on the figures for the previous year.
In 2011, there was one food bank in Scotland operated in partnership with the Trussell Trust. The charity said that as of April 2015, it had 50 food banks in 27 Scottish local authorities. The main reasons behind people being referred to its food banks were due to a benefit delay, low income or a benefit change.
18,000 people in Glasgow using one of its food banks in the financial year from 2014/2015, In Edinburgh, the figure was about 14,000 people and in Fife more than 10,000 required an emergency food supply.
Low income showed the biggest numerical rise, with 24,609 people referred for this reason in 2014/15 compared with 13,552 the previous year, an increase of more than 80%.
Ewan Gurr, Scotland networ…

Poverty is Child Abuse

The Child Poverty Action Group calculates that 220,000 children live in poverty in Scotland. That’s one in five children, but we know that in some areas, that figure is one in three. We know that in some areas out of a class of 30 children, ten of them can be living in poverty.
Living in poverty puts health, wellness and the ability to do well at school at risk. It’s not just a case of not having nice clothes and not being able to go on holidays. We are dealing with families who rely on food banks and emergency grants, not to get over a difficult time, but to survive. We are living in a society now where GPs routinely ask people, when they can find no other cause for their pain or illness, if they have enough to eat.
Living in poverty creates long-term difficulties for these children, who grow up at greater risk of mental ill health, chronic illness, unemployment and homelessness; and so the cycle continues.
 The Institute of Fiscals studies acknowledges that poverty increased quickl…

The "poverty premium"

In Scotland the poorest households are paying £1,300 a year more than their wealthier neighbours for everyday goods and services. Thereport by a coalition of churches andcharities draws on a year of grassroots research conducted in Glasgow and charts the so-called "poverty premium"; the high prices charged for everyday essentials including food, fuel, finance, furniture, and even funerals in the city's poorest neighbourhoods.
Niall Cooper, Director of Church Action on Poverty, said: “It shouldn’t cost money to be poor. It is unacceptable for companies to exploit their most vulnerable customers by charging them the highest prices.”
Peter MacDonald, leader of the Iona Community, said: “It is clear from this report, consistent with several others, that we are not ‘all in this together’. The poorest among us are paying the price of austerity. This is morally and economically just plain wrong.”
Martin Johnstone, chief executive of Faith in Community Scotland and secretary of…

A Run on a Food bank

The largest food bank in Scotland, which exists to help feed the poverty stricken, has run out of food. The food bank in Glasgow has been cleaned out because the number of families asking for help has reached record levels.

The number of people requesting help via the Citizens Advice Bureau for food in January was more than half the number turning up to food banks throughout the whole of 2013. The food banks are mostly run by the Trussell Trust, which runs 42 food banks in Scotland alone.

The alarming scale of poverty crisis in the UK led to the Glasgow City Mission closing its doors and unable to provide basic foodstuffs to those in need. Almost 8,000 people in Scotland were helped in January alone by being offered tinned fruit, bread and other foodstuffs donated by others. But following an appeal by the Glasgow Mission, schoolchildren in the city's schools collected food from parents to give to the charity to help with the shortfall.

To qualify for food bank handouts, applicant…

Scotland's Humanitarian Crisis

A campaign aimed at highlighting the "humanitarian crisis" caused by poverty in Scotland has been launched by a group of charities. The Scotland's Outlook campaign claimed hundreds of thousands of people were being "battered" by welfare reforms, stagnant wages, rising utility bills, higher living costs and job insecurity. And it said many families were having to use food banks to feed themselves.

It claimed more than 870,000 people in Scotland were living in poverty, with a fifth of children in Scotland living below the breadline and 23,000 people having turned to food banks in the past six months. Figures from Scotland's chief statistician also showed there had been a fall in the average household earnings in Scotland, from £461 per week to £436.

The campaign is being run jointly by Macmillan, Shelter Scotland, Oxfam, Alzheimer Scotland, Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), the Poverty Alliance and the Sco…

Fewer Festive Feasts

Desperate Scots are turning to food banks and soup kitchens in soaring numbers across the country, new research has found. More than 20,000 people have received food handouts in the last six months alone Hundred of people in Glasgow are expected to go hungry over the festive period, with the numbers turning to food banks at a worrying high. New figures from charity The Trussell Trust, which runs four food banks in the city, show the numbers accessing their lifeline services has more than doubled. Some 27,603 meals have been handed out by just three food banks in the city in the last three months. Since September, 1417 have been fed by the Truss-ell Trust food bank in Scotstoun, 1365 by the Govanhill branch and 285 by the service in Parkhead. That is 29 people a day, compared to 12 people a day in the first six months of 2013/14.There are more than 15 food banks in the city run by other groups and churches. 

A Scottish Government report identified 55 food banks and soup kitchens in eigh…

Food Bank Poverty

Hungry Fifers are going without food for days as times get tougher for low earners. One woman turned up at Dunfermline Foodbank having had nothing to eat for two days. Alarmingly, around half of the people who turn up looking for help cannot afford food despite being in employment.
John Drylie, who runs the foodbank said “About 50% of the people we are dealing with at the foodbank are on low wages, which is quite a concern. They’re not making ends meet. For low wage earners, something like a big bill is enough to put them back. We are finding that they are making sure the kids have something to eat but they are going without.

A new Kirkcaldy foodbank has been launched, as the town faces poverty “of an unbelievable scale”.
“The opening comes as one local Fife charity has predicted ‘the worst year yet’ for poor families, with many needing help just to survive and dreading Christmas this year as a result of benefit changes and the spiralling cost of food and fuel. Years ago, a Christmas…

Poverty to blame for bad health

Poverty and not Scotland's lack of sun is mainly to blame for a catalogue of illnesses associated with low levels of vitamin D, a new scientific study suggests.

Previous findings identified links between Scotland's lack of sunlight and conditions such as multiple sclerosis and depression. However, a study commissioned by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Scotland and the Scottish Government claims the country's inhabitants do get healthy levels of sunlight.

According to the researchers, the study gives added credence to other documented links between vitamin D levels and wealth, with those from deprived areas and with the lowest incomes exhibiting lower levels of the vitamin. The researchers said that "There is a link between vitamin D levels and socioeconomic status, with those deprived areas and with the lowest incomes exhibiting lower levels of vitamin D,"


Food Banks Return

We all see the TV adverts from the Red Cross, UNICEF and Oxfam for donations to aid the starving in third world countries but what we do not expect to see are calls for aid and donations by Scottish based charities and organisations to help the poverty stricken and starving in Scotland. We live in a country that is supposed to be part of a developed nation yet it is cutting benefits alongside price hikes by energy companies.

Food banks are returning to Scotland’s streets. Not to feed the homeless and
those sleeping on the streets, but families who cannot put food on the table because they choose to heat their home rather than freeze.

According to Margaret Lynch, chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, she said: “The reason for the rise in food bank cases is that household incomes are not keeping up with the cost of living. Half of those who use food banks are actually working, but their wages are too low to sustain them. The other half are people on benefits, whose low incomes ha…

Scotland's Disgrace

Save the Children’s Scottish leader Neil Mathers said: “Poverty is a scar on Scotland’s society.”

Oxfam’s Our Economy report claimed Scotland’s wealthiest households are 273 times richer than the poorest.

The charity say figures show work is not always a route to a better life in Scotland, as figures show 40 per cent of those living in poverty are in employment.

Judith Robertson, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “The reality for too many Scots is a cocktail of high mortality, economic inactivity, mental and physical ill-health, poor educational attainment, and exclusion from the decisions that affect them.”

John Downie, director of public affairs for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations said that poverty must be a priority. “Scotland is one of the most unequal places in the developed world, with the gap between the richest and poorest growing steadily. It’s shameful that in communities across the country, people are having to choose between heating their homes or putting food…

Alienated Lives

Why are Scots sicker than the rest of the UK?

Dr Phil Hanlon and researchers at the Centre for Population Health have compared life, incomes and health outcomes in Glasgow, Liverpool and Manchester. They found “deprivation profiles” were almost identical, but premature deaths in Glasgow were 30 per cent higher.

This excess mortality ran across almost all ages, males and females and deprived and non-deprived neighbourhoods. It was not, surprisingly, lung cancer, heart and liver disease were not the factors tipping Glaswegians over the UK average.  It was higher levels of drug and alcohol misuse, suicide and death through violence.

Why are some Glaswegians so prone to self-harming and life-shortening behaviours?

Chief Medical Officer Harry Burns cites the work of Aaron Antonovsky, who maintained that a sense of coherence (SOC) is necessary for adult health. The  medical sociologist defined the SOC as “the extent to which one has a feeling of confidence that the stimuli deriving from on…

Bankrupt Scots

The recent downward trend in the number of individuals and companies going bankrupt in Scotland has reversed dramatically in recent months, official figures show.

In the first quarter of 2013-14 (April to June) personal insolvencies were up 14.7 per cent and corporate insolvencies were up 28.7 per cent.

Bryan Jackson, business restructuring partner with BDO LLP, said the rise in payday and short-term lenders points to "serious financial problems among thousands of Scots".

Mr Jackson said: "Following recent falls, the increase in the number of personal insolvencies in the second quarter suggests that the pent-up indebtedness of many individuals has burst through.There is little doubt that many individuals have been living from month to month, or week to week, simply feeding the interest on their debts rather than reducing the debt itself. Until now, this has delayed some from falling into insolvency, but this quarter's figures suggest that their financial situation …

Going Dutch

Netherlands based international humanitarian aid foundation Cordaid which is active in places such as Africa and Afghanistan, stated  they have now started to support the projects to fight against poverty in Netherlands. In last 20 years, the poverty rate in the country increased to 10% from 4%.

Another institution, which fights the poverty in the country are 'food allowance banks'. Throughout the country 140 'food allowance banks' are active,  which serves more than 70 thousand families

Poor Scotland

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has revealed that 344,000 households in Scotland fall below the Minimum Income Standard (MIS) which is set by asking members of the public what they think people need as a minimum in order to have the choices and opportunities to participate fully in society. Goods and services included by the public are then assigned a price in order to produce figures for how much different households need to earn to achieve a socially acceptable standard of living.

For a couple with two children the MIS is currently £685 a week, which includes rent and childcare. For a single person it is £262 a week.

In March, a report into poverty and social exclusion in Scotland found that almost 1 in 20 Scots were unable to afford an adequate diet, and that 1 in 6 children lives in a home that is either damp or not adequately heated. It also found that 24 per cent of Scottish adults cannot afford one or more basic household appliances, such as a washing machine, a phone, cur…

Ending World Poverty

World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim called for a global drive to wipe out extreme poverty by 2030, acknowledging that reaching the goal will require extraordinary efforts. “A world free of poverty is within our grasp. It is time to help everyone across the globe secure a one-way ticket out of poverty and stay on the path toward prosperity,” Kim said
Not a very difficult goal nor a paticularly ambitious one to achieve if you happen to a member of the world’s super-rich capitalists.
Last year, the world's billionaires added $800 billion dollars to their wealth. According to the latest issue of Forbes, when all the money is counted, the 1,426 billionaires have a combined net worth of $5.4 trillion. That means the average billionaire is worth about $3.8 billion. Of those billionaires in the U.S. -- 442 of them -- the average net worth is about $4.2 billion.

That's a whole lot of money and according to the OECD, the total amount of aid given by the wealthy nations of the world to the…

Struggling Scots

It is not independence most Scot are struggling for - it is to pay their bills.

One in six Scots households are raiding their savings to pay for day-to-day living expenses as they struggle to cope with higher utility, food and fuel bills in the face of another year of frozen wage packets. Almost half of people have admitted in a new poll to regularly delving into their savings last year, with one-third unable to put any money aside in 2012.

 40% of private-sector workers were given a freeze in their 2012 pay settlements. 250,000 council workers are due to see their wages go up by just 1% in April, ending a two-year freeze.

Citizens Advice Scotland  chief executive Margaret Lynch said: "This report shows the grim reality of what life is like for Scotland's families in today's economy...The economic equation is simple: basic living costs are going up all the time while household incomes are frozen, or falling. So people are struggling just to pay for the essentials …

Part time job - full time poverty

Citizens Advice Scotland warned that the number of people in part-time work is pushing many to the brink of poverty.

Norma Philpott, chief executive officer of Citizens Advice and Rights Fife, said: “We are increasingly seeing people who are struggling to make ends meet because they can’t find work with enough hours. The rise in the number of people coming to us for help accessing food banks and the proportion of people turning to payday loans shows that many people who can only find part time work are being pushed into poverty.”