Published: 25 Oct 2018
Some of Scotland’s poorest and most disadvantaged communities risk falling even further behind, a new report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission warns today.
Is Scotland Fairer? finds that, while progress has been made in some areas, it is overshadowed by evidence that shows that for disabled people, some ethnic minorities, including Scottish Gypsy and Travellers, and children from poorer backgrounds things are getting worse.
The report reviews evidence in six areas of life:
- living standards
- justice and personal security
Dr Lesley Sawers, the Equality and Human Rights Commission's Scotland Commissioner said:
'The inequalities this report reveals risk becoming entrenched for generations to come, creating a two-tier society at odds with how we see ourselves.
'The Scottish Government has made some real progress. In the last three years we have seen them pass legislation recognising social security as a human right; publishing ambitious plans for gender, race and disability equality; legislating for 50:50 gender balances on public boards; and building 50,000 affordable homes. The UK Government has introduced new regulations to force transparency on the gender pay gap. These are all examples of positive policies.
'But balanced against this we report that for some groups progress is slow, and for too many there has been no progress at all.'
The report finds that in Scotland:
- in 2016 to 2017 women earned on average £1.90 an hour less than men
- women and men are segregated into different sectors of the economy, with women often working in the poorest paying sectors
- disabled people are twice as likely to be without work and more likely to live in poverty
- ethnic minority graduates are less likely than others to receive the highest level of degree, and less likely to go on to postgraduate study
- in 2016, 12% of all households with a person with a long term physical, mental health condition or illness required adaptations to their home, a similar proportion as in the previous years
- homophobic and religiously motivated crime continues to rise
- disabled pupils are almost twice as likely to be excluded from school
Dr Sawers added:
'We already live in a divided society - the danger is that these widening gaps could take another generation to solve. The worrying thing is that these are not new problems, but enduring ones.
'While the Scottish Government's commitments to equality and human rights are welcome, much more needs to be done so that we see greater evidence of the impact on equality.
'The UK Government’s social security reforms have had a profound impact in Scotland with too many families, children and disabled people losing out.
'This report comes at an important moment. The UK is set to leave the EU and Scotland will play its role in shaping the distinctive legislation, policy and practice that will define post-Brexit Britain. This assessment provides a baseline to measure progress on equality after Brexit against.'
Is Scotland Fairer? makes a number of recommendations to governments, public bodies and employers to help achieve equality in Scotland. We will use these findings to inform our strategic programme of work for the next three years and will be launching a public consultation on this in early November.
The publication accompanies a separate report on Is Britain Fairer?