Report highlights in-work poverty

Report highlights in-work poverty

7th December 2018

Many working people in Scotland are routinely struggling to afford food, a new survey has found.

Many working people in Scotland are routinely struggling to afford food, a new survey has found.

The Bringing Food to the Table report from Citizens Advice Scotland is based on survey responses from 2,651 people across Scotland.

45% of the respondents are in full-time or part-time work. Of these:

  • 40% have worried about food running out before there is money to buy more.
  • 35% are struggling to afford to eat balanced meals, and
  • 29% have had to cut down or skip meals because there isn’t enough money for the food they needed to buy.

The open survey was carried out in September and October 2018. People filled in an online survey or a paper version in their local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Publishing the report today (Friday), CAS Chief Executive Derek Mitchell said:

“This study shows that many working people in Scotland are struggling to afford to buy food, and in 2018 this is simply unacceptable. For some people going hungry is the norm – that’s just not right.

“I am shocked at some of the figures this piece of work has uncovered. There is an assumption that people in Scotland, especially those in work, would have access to food and be able to afford it, but this research shows that this is not the case. In-work poverty is a major issue which this new piece of research clearly illuminates.”

When looking at all responses (working and not working) the report found:

  • More than one-fifth of all respondents (21%) had gone a whole day without eating because they did not have enough money for food.
  • 45% of respondents were worried about food running out before there was money to buy more.
  • One-third of respondents, 34%, considered fresh fish products to be unaffordable, while one-fifth, 21%, considered fresh fruit to be unaffordable.
  • 23% of people had had to skip meals so that their children could eat.

Derek Mitchell added:

“Citizens Advice Bureaux in Scotland have seen a 202% rise in demand for advice on food and foodbanks in the last five years. That’s an enormous rise and points to a real crisis in terms of the money in people’s pockets not going far enough.

“Since this is one of the first specific pieces of research that highlights the fact that people in employment are struggling to afford food, CAS will be using the findings as a first step to understanding this complex issue.

“We look forward to working with the Scottish Government’s Good Food Nation Team to ensure that the experiences of our clients feed directly into policy making.”

Notes to Editors:

Food on the Table survey: methodology

There were two data collection methods, online and paper. The online survey was open to everyone in Scotland and publicised on a number of platforms, including traditional and social media, while the paper survey was completed by individuals seeking advice at Citizens Advice Bureaux, and by clients of partner agencies.

Survey administration: A total of 2,682 surveys were undertaken, 31 of which were discarded (all online) as responses were largely incomplete. Of the remaining 2,651 surveys, 1,348 (50.8%) were completed online and 1,303 (49.2%) on paper. 2,388 respondents provided information on their employment status. Of those, 45% were in full-time or part-time employment.

The survey sample is not necessarily representative of the Scottish people as a whole. However, this was never the intention of this work; instead, the aim was to give everyone in Scotland the opportunity to have their say, and to illustrate the experiences of real individuals in Scotland in relation to the purchase of food.