BY Peter Diamond | April 20 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

4-FINDELY-AND-CAMERON

MSPs hit out after report reveals Catholics are more likely to live in areas of poverty

Two MSPs have called for action after a new report revealed that over a quarter of Scottish Catholics are living in poverty-stricken areas.

Neil Findlay, MSP for Lothian, hit out after figures from a survey conducted by the Scottish Government revealed almost 30 per cent of Scottish Catholics are living in the most deprived areas of the country.

A recently published report, titled The Scottish Surveys Core Questions, revealed that Catholics, Muslims, Polish people and other non-white ethnicities fall into the country’s most deprived categories.

The statistics also revealed that the number of impoverished Catholics is twice the amount of those affiliated with the Church of Scotland.

Almost a quarter of Scottish Muslims, and over a third of Scotland’s Polish community, fell into the same category.

Mr Findlay, from Fauldhouse, who was the shadow minister for equality until 2016, said: “The figures for poverty in Scotland are truly shocking.

“Today across Scotland we see families struggling to make ends meet as benefit cuts and cuts to local services vote hard.

“The combination of austerity policies, low pay and insecure work are putting huge strains on communities. We have to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to protect our people, not simply be a conveyor belt for cuts.”

Fellow MSP Donald Cameron for the Highlands also said the figures showed there are stark differences in equality in Scottish society. The Conservative Party MSP said: “The figures show that there continue to be clear inequalities in Scottish society, and it is deeply concerning that so many individuals who identify as Catholic and Muslim are more likely to live in the most deprived areas than any other religious group.

“The reasons for this are undoubtedly multifarious, but it is obvious from historical data that higher levels of long term illness, and barriers in education, have affected both Catholics and Muslims.

It is also concerning that so many members of the Polish community live in the most deprived areas.

The census data suggests that the number of Poles in low paid employment is a key reason for this.

“In all of these cases, the SNP Government needs to take action and use the powers that they have to improve the lives of all Scots so that we can close the gaps in inequality that continue to exist in our society.”

The data gathered within the report was taken from a survey carried out in 2016 and the findings were published in 2017 by the Scottish Government.

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