SNP Member of the European Parliament Alyn Smith has today, Tuesday, highlighted the poor performance of the UK in reducing inequality.
The MEP has highlighted a publication by Eurostat, the European statistics agency, that demonstrates the UK measure of "severely materially deprived people" has risen by 84% from 2008 to 2013 compared to an EU average rise of 13%.
In fact the percentage of people in extreme poverty in the UK at 8.3% is now worse than in 14 of the European nations covered:
Belgium (5.6%), Czech Republic (6.6%), Denmark (3.8%), Germany (5.5%), Estonia (7.6%), France (5.4%), Luxembourg (1.8%), Netherlands (2.5%), Austria (4.2%), Finland (2.5%), Sweden (1.4%), Iceland (1.9%), Norway (1.9%) or Switzerland (1%).
Currently eight of every 100 UK citizens will be severely deprived contrasting with just one Swede, two Icelanders or Norwegians and five French or German citizens.
The UK in particular has performed poorly as the number of severely materially deprived people has grown by 84% (from 4.5% to 8.3%) instead of a 13% (from 8.5% to 9.6%) increase EU wide.
Commenting, Alyn Smith said:
"This is a grim picture from across Europe, and it proves that too many people are struggling to get by in too many countries. But it also disproves the myth that the UK is somehow doing well. Relative to a number of other European countries, UK poverty levels compare very badly, and UK inequality is not getting better, it is getting worse.
"These figures underline that Scotland could do better, and can only add to the consensus in Scotland that we need full job creating and welfare powers to spur our economy and protect our most vulnerable."
Eurostat press release can be downloaded here as a PDF