Figures compiled by the SNP reveal that the UK suffers from the worst levels of poverty of any neighbouring country, and has done for almost all of the past twenty years – and it’s about to get even worse.
The analysis from the House of Commons Library shows that the UK has the highest poverty rate of every country in north west Europe, with 11.7% of people living in relative poverty under the OECD definition.
This puts the UK in a worse position than all thirteen neighbouring countries, including Iceland (4.9%), Denmark (6.1%), Finland (6.5%), Belgium (8.2%), the Netherlands (8.3%), Norway (8.4%), France (8.5%), Sweden (8.9%), Ireland (9.0%), Switzerland (9.2%), Austria (9.4%), Germany (10.4%), and Luxembourg (11.4%)
The figures, using OECD data, show that the UK has a significantly higher poverty rate than the average for independent countries of Scotland’s size or smaller (7.7%), and has had the worst or second-worst poverty rate in every single year since UK data was first recorded in 2002.
It comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak refuses to heed calls not to slash Universal Credit payments for six million families by £1040 a year from September, despite recent research showing that it will leave millions unable to afford a basic standard of living.
Commenting, SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson David Linden MP said: “The UK is suffering from a growing Tory poverty crisis – with the worst levels of any country in north west Europe.
“Rishi Sunak’s plans to slash Universal Credit payments by £1040 a year for six million families, and impose a public sector pay freeze, will inevitably make this crisis even worse and push more people into hardship and deprivation. There must be an urgent U-turn.
“The cold hard reality is there will be no fair recovery at Westminster. The only way to keep Scotland safe from Tory cuts and build a fairer society is to become an independent country, with the full powers needed to secure a strong, fair and equal recovery and eradicate poverty.
“For every step we take forward to tackle poverty in Scotland, Westminster is dragging us backwards again with Tory cuts.
“The SNP government is putting money into people’s pockets with progressive policies like the Scottish Child Payment but Tory cuts to Universal Credit will effectively cancel this out – wiping out progress we’ve made.
“Tory plans to impose another round of austerity cuts demonstrate that Scotland is increasingly vulnerable under Westminster control.
“It is essential that Scotland becomes an independent country, so we can protect ourselves from Tory cuts and build a fairer future.”