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Poverty in Scotland: the Council's evidence (15/12/06)
The Council was one of a number of organisations invited to give oral evidence to the UK Parliament’s Scottish Affairs Select Committee who were visiting the Highlands to take evidence as part of their enquiry into poverty.
This inquiry is looking at what is poverty, the extent of poverty, contributing factors and the impact of Government policy on poverty.
The Committee also visited local communities in Balintore, Bonar Bridge and Merkinch to hear at first hand the issues and concerns of these communities.
As the Council indicated in its written submission to the Committee (PDF 81 Kb), poverty is not just about low incomes or indeed no incomes, it covers much wider issues and this is especially true in the Highlands. In addition to the traditional issues surrounding poverty, the rurality of the Highlands introduces considerable pressures, such as:-
- The difficulties of a low wage rural economy.
- The higher costs of living, transport and housing faced by people living within rural areas.
- Lack of access to essential services such as banking, post offices, cash machines and financial advice.
- Households within Highland spending proportionately higher amounts on heating their homes leading to fuel poverty.
- The national focus upon concentrated deprivation whereas in rural areas deprivation is much more dispersed.