Stirling MP: Poverty Report Damning Verdict on Price of Union


Categories: Constituency, , UK Government (Westminster)

Stirling MP: Poverty Report Damning Verdict on Price of Union

Local Stirling MP Alyn Smith has condemned the UK’s broken economic and social model, as a new report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation lays bare the stark reality of poverty for millions across the UK.

‘Destitution in the UK 2023’ highlights research on the conditions of families and households, shining a light on both the cruelty and economic self-harm 13 years of Conservative party dogma have wrought on communities.

The report also found that Scotland had the lowest increase in destitution since 2019 when compared to the rest of the UK, and that policies on free school meals and the Scottish Child Payment had made a tangible difference to people’s lives. 

Key findings from across the UK include:

  • Around 3.8 million people experienced destitution in 2022 – a 61% increase since 2019. This includes around 1 million children – an 88% increase since 2019. People are considered destitute if they have not been able to meet their most basic physical needs to stay warm, dry, clean and fed. 
  • The number of people experiencing destitution in the UK has more than doubled in the last five years – up from 1,550,000 in 2017. 
  • Since 2017 the number of children experiencing destitution has almost tripled – an increase of 186%. 
  • Almost two thirds (63%) of people experiencing destitution have a disability or chronic health problem.  
  • The social security system is not protecting people from destitution: 72% of those destitute are in receipt of benefits.

Stirling MP Alyn Smith said:

‘This report makes for heartbreaking reading. The UK is one of the richest nations on earth – and yet millions of households are experiencing destitution. Let’s be clear – that means they have been unable to meet their most basic physical needs to stay warm, dry, clean and fed.

‘They’re cold because UK governments broke the energy markets – and continue to squander Scotland’s abundance of renewable energy.

‘They’re damp because UK governments broke the housing market – leaving millions in badly insulated, shoddily built and poorly maintained homes.

‘And they’re struggling to keep clean and fed because this UK government has crashed the economy, failed to avert a cost of living crisis – and put up barriers between the UK and the EU – the biggest single market in the world.

‘In Stirling, local Councillors are worried about an uptick in homelessness and poverty: the misery of a sputtering UK economy. These are the real, tangible costs of the Union for Scotland – poverty, misery and destitution. The SNP-led Scottish Government continues to do what we can under devolution to protect our communities from the ineptitude of UK governments, of all stripes. But it is independence which will unlock the full powers we need to end these economic and social injustices for good.’


The full report can be read here.