The richest 10% in Scotland are 273 times wealthier than the poorest according to a damning new report by Oxfam. Our Economy: Towards a new prosperity calls for “radical action” to be taken to transform our economy to make it fairer for all, not just those at the top, whose income, contrary to the view expressed by many politicians, does not trickle down.
The authors criticise the failure of the Scottish economy to provide sufficient jobs for the populous – in Dumbarton there are 40 JSA claimants for every advertised job. The figure across Scotland is 8 claimants to each job. The disconnect between jobs available and those looking for jobs contributes to the fact that too many people living in poverty in Scotland suffer from ill health and high mortality rates, with poor educational attainment and economic inactivity compounding intergenerational disadvantage.
Glasgow is considered as a case study – why after years of investment and regeneration activity Glasgow still has such endemic problems. An economic model that places consumerism at the centre has not seen jobless totals decline sufficiently – it is not working for the poorest and most disadvantaged and, in fact, is making Glasgow’s problems worse. Those who cannot take part in the consumerist culture due to poverty are alienated, suffer from status anxiety and depression; often, as is the case with many mothers, sacrificing their own wellbeing to buy things for their children to escape the stigma of poverty “by masking it”.
The following 10 issues are examined as conducive to an alternative economic model:
- Measuring the new prosperity
- Our society: really regenerating our communities
- Our work, our wealth: closing the labour market divide
- Our worth: linking economic reward with social value
- Our tax system: a tool for achieving equality
- Our welfare state: solidarity through social Protection
- Our decisions: equality through power and participation
- Our communities: enabling collective ownership
- Our environment: sharing the benefits of a low carbon future
- Our business: creating social returns – the role and responsibilities of the private sector