Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
Most marginalised Scots are the biggest losers in tax and spending plans
Female lone parents, Black families, severely disabled people and families with more than three children are the biggest losers in terms of household income as a result of combined tax, spending and local services cuts between 2010 and 2022, new research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission revealed yesterday.
Taking account of changes to taxation, social security and local authority services the research estimates that household income in Scotland has dropped for:
- female lone parent households by 7.8%
- Black households by 6.5%
- larger families by 8%
- severely disabled people by 5%
- younger people by 4%
The research also shows that whilst household income for the poorest in Scotland has dropped by 5% it has risen for the more affluent by up to 1%.
John Wilkes, Director of the Commission in Scotland, yesterday said:
'The findings show just how stark and how unequal the combined impact of the recession, austerity and public spending cuts have been. Using this new approach to assessing the combined impact of tax and spend policy reveals that it is the most marginalised who have suffered the most.'
The report shows that impacts fall unevenly across our communities. While white households lost on average £200 as a result of spending changes between 2012 to 2022, Asian households lose up to £800, and Black African and Caribbean households £1,050.
The most severely disabled households in England are projected to lose over £2,900 compared to a gain in Scotland over the same period of around £100, attributed to increased spending on health, social care and housing.
Mr Wilkes continued:
'We already know that ethnic minorities, disabled people, and lone parents are much more likely to live in poverty than other Scots, and face far higher than average unemployment.
'What is unique about this work is that it shows that we can and must consider the different impacts on different groups before we make major policy changes. Otherwise we risk increasing the inequalities in our society. Positive policies however such as mitigating effects of some social security changes has saved many from even greater income losses.'
The report compares the impact across Scotland, England and Wales. Scotland is judged to have adopted more “pro poor” policies and as a result the household income reductions are smaller than elsewhere.
Total household income in England is projected to fall by £1,450 between 2011 and 2022, compared to £200 in Scotland and £470 in Wales. Higher and further education sustain the highest cuts across Great Britain but in Scotland spending on both early years and housing has increased substantially, while falling elsewhere (by 50% and 30% respectively).
Speaking about the report its author Howard Reed yesterday said:
'This research shows that the combined impact of tax and social security reforms since 2010 has hit the poorest households in Scotland hardest and has also had detrimental effects for particular kinds of families, especially lone parents and households with three or more children, black households, and households with severely disabled people.
'The Scottish Government’s own spending choices have mitigated some – but not all – of the adverse consequences of the tax and social security decisions made by the UK Government in Westminster.'
The report makes a number of recommendations:
- that the UK Government should consider mitigating the large negative changes to reduce disproportionate impacts on some groups
- that the Scottish and Welsh Governments review spending on HE and FE where the greatest cuts have taken place
- that all governments conduct equality analysis of spending plans specifically to identify areas of disproportionate impact on women, ethnic minorities and disabled people
- that all governments commit to core minimum protections to safeguard people’s rights
Notes to editors
The Equality and Human Rights Commission is the National Equality Body (NEB) for Scotland, England and Wales. We work to eliminate discrimination and promote equality across the nine protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010. We are an “A Status” National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) and share our mandate to promote and protect human rights in Scotland with the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC).
Yesterday’s report, the cumulative impact on living standards of public spending changes, was written by Howard Reed and Johnathan Portes of Landman Economics. The analytical model combines data on trends in aggregate public spending (broken down into different spending categories) with survey micro-data on the usage of public services by households. The public spending analysis focuses on those areas most likely to impact of households for example spending on education, health, housing, and social services and policing but excludes areas like health research, defence, and fire rescue.
The report notes that projected population growth in England (8%) is higher than in both Scotland (4.5%) and Wales (4%) and that may account for some of the deficits found in English spending plans as faster population growth in England means that spending is being stretched increasingly thinly.
Press contact details
For more press information contact the Commission's media office on:
0161 829 8102
07767 272 818 (out of hours)
Latest News from
Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)
Care agency investigated over pre-employment health questions21/06/2019 09:25:00
EHRC have launched an investigation into the care agency Elite CarePlus Ltd, after receiving evidence that it was asking pre-employment health questions during its recruitment and registration process.
Discrimination going unchallenged in legal aid system20/06/2019 09:25:00
Victims of discrimination are being denied their fundamental right to justice and perpetrators are going unchallenged because of the current legal aid system, our Inquiry has warned.
Investigation opened into The Labour Party following complaints about antisemitism30/05/2019 09:25:00
The Equality and Human Rights Commission recently (28 May 2019) launched a formal investigation to determine whether The Labour Party has unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish.
47 organisations yet to report latest gender pay gap named and shamed21/05/2019 09:25:00
EHRC are naming and shaming 47 organisations that have failed to report their latest gender pay gap following the March and April deadlines.
Repeat late gender pay gap reporters named and shamed by equality regulator13/05/2019 09:25:00
Three organisations that have failed to report their gender pay gap information on time for the second year in a row have been publicly named and shamed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
People’s life chances increasingly restricted by their postcode10/05/2019 09:25:00
Fairness and equality is a stark postcode lottery in England with those living in the North East, North West and West Midlands often being far worse off than those living in the rest of the country.
Government must improve record on stopping cruel and inhuman treatment08/05/2019 09:25:00
The UK and Welsh governments must do more to improve their record on preventing inhuman and degrading treatment across several areas, including immigration detention, healthcare and youth custody.
Disappointment with court view on Serco lock change policy15/04/2019 15:10:00
The courts recently (12 April 2019) upheld that dozens of people in Glasgow could be made homeless and vulnerable by Serco’s policy regarding issuing lock-change orders to tenants refused asylum in the UK.
Single mothers, black families and disabled people will lose out in tax and spending plans19/03/2019 13:37:00
Female lone parents, black families, severely disabled people and families with more than three children will lose out the most in terms of household income due to tax and spending policies between 2010 and 2022.