Poverty

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 28th June 1995.

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Photo of David Marshall David Marshall , Glasgow Shettleston 2:30 pm, 28th June 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is his estimate of the number of people in Scotland living in poverty; what plans he has to reduce this figure; and if he will make a statement. [29389]

Photo of Lord James Douglas-Hamilton Lord James Douglas-Hamilton , Edinburgh West

Statistics on patterns of household disposable income are provided in "Households Below Average Income 1979 to 1991/92", published in July last year. The best response to low household income is to sustain economic recovery and to assist those in greatest need. The Government's policies address both these aspects.

Photo of David Marshall David Marshall , Glasgow Shettleston

Is the Minister not thoroughly ashamed of his cop-out in answering that question? Does he not realise that many crime and drug problems stem from poverty? Many young people have no hope and no future. Many old people have no decent and dignified retirement. Does he not know that people are dying as a result of poverty in health, housing, jobs and finance? When is he going to do something positive, such as making the Millennium Commission spend some of its millions on projects to tackle poverty instead of on making multi-millionaires out of Tory Members?

Photo of Lord James Douglas-Hamilton Lord James Douglas-Hamilton , Edinburgh West

The hon. Gentleman should have told the House that unemployment in his Shettleston constituency has fallen by 21 per cent. He has forgotten to mention that more than £85 million pounds is being given in urban aid to areas of housing deprivation in Scotland and, of course, that the vast majority of people in Scotland are far better off. Average income rose 36 per cent. between 1979 and 1991 and is up for all family types. I would advise the hon. Gentleman to look at the whole position. Scotland is doing extremely well in many respects.