A new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has said that around one million people in Scotland had impoverished “precarious and insecure lives” before COVID-19 struck and the current pandemic could lunge them deeper into poverty while dragging others down as well.
To address the problem, “targeted action” was needed to help people most impacted by a decline in income and employment opportunities, it said.
The charity published an annual report on poverty in the country today.
It broke down areas most impacted by furlough and in receipt of government funding under its job retention scheme.
Manufacturing, for instance, was a sector where 42 percent of jobs had been furloughed.
Seventy-seven percent of jobs in accommodation and food sectors were also placed on the scheme, due to end at the end of the month.
The reported noted:
“The types of vacancies point to a challenging jobs future if those low-wage workers in retail and hospitality find they do not have the skills or experience for these new vacancies”.
It iterated that “targeted support and actions” were needed to assist the areas facing a difficult recovery and stem a potential rise in poverty.
It also mentioned the high cost of child care in Scotland, despite it having some of the lowest nursery rates in the UK at £111.26 per week for a part-time place for a child under two years old.
“Less than 30% of local authorities have enough childcare for parents working full-time, compared to 56% in England”, it read, noting it was one of the lowest provisions for childcare in the UK.
“Even before coronavirus, around a million people in Scotland were in poverty, living precarious and insecure lives.
“In many instances, coronavirus will have swept them deeper into poverty, as well as dragging others under, many of whom will have not experienced this situation before,” it also reported.
While the UK and Scottish governments have put in place measures to help protect people from plunging into poverty due to layoffs and a diving economy, JRF said many of these we’re temporary, and both governments would need to be more ambitious.
The Herald reported that the Scottish government said it was “committed” to defeating child poverty.