Tomorrow, new statistics on poverty and income inequality will be published. All indications are that levels of poverty and inequality are on the rise in the UK over the longer term, and Scotland is no different.
These statistics matter for a variety of reasons, not least because back in 2017, Holyrood voted to put into law a target to reduce relative child poverty in Scotland.
Publication will no doubt be overshadowed by the ongoing Brexit debate. But it’s important not to lose sight of the domestic policy agenda.
Too often the debate over poverty collapses down to a simple discussion about the level of re-distribution in the tax and benefit system.
But in reality, if Scotland is to meet its poverty targets then it’ll require a much more fundamental look at the Scottish economy and how it functions. For instance, we have record people in employment in Scotland, but rising poverty.
Ultimately, tackling poverty isn’t just a moral or societal problem, but also an economic problem that requires a system-wide look at how jobs are created, levels of investment in the economy, productivity growth and wage growth.