Poor West Dunbartonshire

One in 12 on zero hours contracts and housing costs make things worse

Brucehill in Dumbarton’s West End is one of the worst areas of deprivation in West Dunbartonshire. Pictures by Bill Heaney

New analysis has found that one in every twelve young people in Scotland are on a zero hours’ contract. This means that young people under 25 are four times more likely to be in insecure work than working-aged adults between 25 and 64.

Holyrood researchers estimate that around 26,000 people under 25 are on these insecure, zero-hours contracts. This number is potentially even higher because the official data is based on self-reporting which relies on people knowing what type of contract they are on.

Dumbarton MSP Jackie Baillie said: “This is bad news for young people. Our economy isn’t working and more and more people under 25 are likely to be stuck in insecure, low paid work.

“This exploitation of young workers must end. It is time the SNP removed zero hours’ jobs as an example of a ‘positive destination’ for school leavers. An insecure contract is not a positive destination and this number-spinning tactic has had its time.

“A Labour government would ban zero hours’ contracts and drive up working conditions in Scotland and across the UK.”

Meanwhile, the says the housing crisis is pushing more and more children into poverty in West Dunbartonshire and Helensburgh.

One in four children in West Dunbartonshire and one in five children in Argyll and Bute are living in poverty after housing costs.

Analysis of statistics reveals that 3,083 children in West Dunbartonshire are living in relative poverty before housing costs were taken into account. However, after housing costs have been taken into account the figure rises to 4,887 which illustrates a 10% rise for the area.

Similarly, in Argyll and Bute 1,939 children are living in poverty before housing costs, and this jumps to 3,106 after housing costs, an 8% rise.

Analysis also reveals that the percentage of children in poverty in Lomond North and Helensburgh Central is higher than the local authority area average with both at over 21%.

Jackie said:  “This analysis reveals that thousands of additional children are being pushed into poverty by increasingly high housing costs across Scotland.

“Access to a home is a basic human right, and something which children should be able to expect. The shameful levels of child poverty across the country may be driven by Tory austerity but this SNP government is doing nothing to protect the people in Scottish communities.

“This is another example of SNP failure. Ending child poverty should be a key priority for this government and it can be done with the powers available to them in the Scottish Parliament.”

SNP politicians in West Dunbartonshire were not available for comment. The party has decided to boycott The Democrat.



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