The Scotland Institute has published its first report ‘Social Exclusion in Scotland’. Founded in June 2012, the Institute’s mission is to build an economy which is sustainable and competitive, a society where wealth is fairly distributed, and a politics which tackles social exclusion and deprivation as a matter of course.
The report recognises the efforts made since devolution to tackle social exclusion, but concludes that there are four main gaps: services to low income households; low wages; education and health outcomes; and support for workless families.
The report also questions (like the Red Paper) how independence linked to Sterling will address social exclusion: “If Scotland remains tied to UK-wide economic policy, and if that continues to set primarily to meet the needs of the City of London, then the best that can be achieved is a set of policies that will mitigate the worst effects. If, as currently suggested, independence means retaining sterling, then that independence will preclude the ability to create a genuinely different economic model.”
This report is a significant constribution to our understanding of poverty in Scotland and the limitations of the current constitutional settlement in tackling the deep seated causes.