Scottish Government
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Unequal start for one in three children

Analysis highlights inequality across Scotland.

Thirty per cent of all children in Scotland live in the country’s poorest households, which have almost no wealth – meaning they do not own property, have an occupational pension or savings, or own items such as cars and household goods.

Analysis of the Wealth and Assets Survey 2008-10, shows Scotland, like Great Britain as a whole, is a deeply unequal society with the wealthiest 10 per cent of households owning 900 times the wealth of the least wealthy 10 per cent.

The wealthiest 30 per cent of households owned over three quarters of all private household wealth in Scotland, while the least wealthy 30 per cent of households owned less than two per cent.

Lone parent families and single working age adults are most likely to have little or no wealth.

Financial wealth and occupational pension wealth were the most unequally distributed, with the wealthiest 30 per cent of Scottish households owning 81 per cent of all financial wealth and 84 per cent of occupational pension wealth. These households also owned 70 per cent of all property wealth (land and houses).

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

"The UK is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world. Living standards have been falling for those on middle and low incomes, and the gap between rich and poor is getting wider.

“These alarming figures highlight that almost one third of our children are not getting a fair start in life.

“Our poorest households do not have the income needed to gain the wealth – and security – that comes from owning property or having pension wealth. Unless action is taken soon, this cycle of deprivation will continue, with more children continuing to be born into poverty.

“We’re currently doing everything we can within our limited powers to tackle this huge inequality.

“However, the reality is that over the years the Westminster system has failed to properly address the deep social inequalities which exist in Scottish society, with generation after generation feeling the impact.

“Tackling and reversing this inequality requires key economic and social policy levers being in the hands of the Scottish Government.

“That’s why we need the full economic levers available to us to create a different approach – one that supports our most vulnerable, encourages people into the workplace and works towards making Scotland a more equal country to live and work.”

Notes To Editors

This is the first detailed analysis of Scottish data from the Wealth and Assets Survey, a Great Britain-wide survey from the Office of National Statistics. The survey gathers information on the ownership of all assets by households, including pension wealth, financial wealth, property wealth, and physical wealth.

The full statistical publication is available at poverty/

This publication presents analysis of the Scottish results from the first two waves of the survey, covering 2006 to 2010. The analysis was the result of a three month PhD internship sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and hosted by Communities Analytical Services, Scottish Government.

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