Scots want more political action on inequality

People in Scotland favour wealth being distributed more equally in Scotland and support stronger political action to narrow the gap, according to new research by Oxfam Scotland.

The survey coincides with the launch of a new Oxfam report highlighting the scale of inequality in Scotland, the drivers fuelling it and the Scottish Parliament's powers to help tackle it.

The report, produced in partnership with the Fraser of Allander Institute at the University of Strathclyde, highlights that income inequality in Scotland is at levels last seen in the early 1990s. It comes amid expert forecasts that inequality will rise further without action to tackle it.

The report, 'Building a more equal Scotland: designing Scotland's Poverty and Inequality Commission', includes Oxfam's recommendations for the design of the Poverty and Inequality Commission, the body being set up by the Scottish Government in 2017-18.

See the report

The move builds on cross-party concern about inequality and follows Oxfam's call for the creation of an Inequality Commission.

The polling, carried out by YouGov for Oxfam as part of its Even It Up campaign, found:

75% of respondents favour wealth being distributed more equally in Scotland, when asked to pick from five different wealth distributions, including the current distribution;

64% said politicians in Scotland should do more to address economic inequality, with 19% saying they are doing all they reasonably could or should, and 17% answering 'don't know';

58% of respondents said they would support an independent body set up by government to propose policy solutions to tackle inequality in Scotland, while tracking progress.

Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said: "With nearly one in five people still living in poverty in Scotland, it cannot be right for the richest 1% to own more wealth than the poorest 50% put together and for income to be so unevenly shared too.

"It is very encouraging to see such strong public support for greater action to tackle inequality, as well as significant cross-party concern. The Scottish Government's commitment to create a Poverty and Inequality Commission reflects this and is a hugely positive move which presents a significant opportunity for progress."

The report also sets out the significant inequalities between women and men, young and old, as well as between different geographic areas of Scotland.

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