Things poised to get better for poverty stricken workers

By Adam Ouakli

POVERTY in Scotland could be on the decline according to a leading member of Poverty Alliance Scotland.

A recent report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation showed that 4.8 million people in the UK are currently living in poverty despite being in employment.

However, Carla McCormack, Policy and Parliamentary Officer at the Poverty Alliance charity is hoping that things are getting better in Scotland.

Although more people are earning the living wage, a lot of people still aren’t. In addition, a large number of women have moved into part-time work. Although those factors have led to the number of workers in poverty increasing, trends suggest that the situation could be turning around.

Carla added: “In Scotland a lot more employers are paying the living wage since the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative that started in 2014. And the reason the rate of in-work poverty has risen is because a lot of people are moving in to labour work – but are still not earning enough. Also, a lot of women are going into part-time work.”

Poverty Alliance Scotland runs the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative and as of 2014 it has helped 20,000 workers in Scotland earn the living wage.

A key factor highlighted in the Rowntree Foundation’s report is that the government’s living wage isn’t enough. The Poverty Alliance say the report highlights the need for employers to pay the living wage at £8.45 an hour and not the UK government’s at £7.20.

In 2014, 18.4% of Scottish workers were earning less than the living wage. Although this number has been increasing, more employers are expected to start paying the living wage as a result of the Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative, which will in turn help take more workers out of poverty.

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