The Scottish Household Survey has been published which gives an indication of what people think about living in Scotland. The statistics are for 2017.
It’s an indicator of wellbeing and lifestyle which is perhaps more useful if looked at over longer periods of time. It also reflects a society where inequality is firmly embedded affecting the activities and attitudes of those with differing incomes.
85% of homes have internet access and although there is still an income equality issue with those who are able to afford to be online at home it has reduced over the decade. More people are using smartphones to access the internet and concerns over security issues have resulted in most people being more cautious about sharing personal details. Worryingly ,however, younger people (16-24) were less concerned about online security including sharing personal data.
People in Scotland haven’t got anymore physically active over the decade with the exception of recreational walking which has increased. It has risen considerably from 57% in 2011 to 70% in 2017. Despite the fact that 2/3 of people are a 5 minute walk away from a green space far fewer of those who live in areas of deprivation will access the outdoors. This could be because they live further from green spaces and have poorer public transport links.
Having a lower income also affects access to cultural events and this is reflected in the statistics. So even though attendance at cultural events in Scotland continues to increase there is still an equality divide.
There has not been much change in how people view our public services of Health and Transport but there has been a decline in how people view local schools.
These are national statistics so it could well be that locally folk have different views.
Concern has grown over the decade about climate change with a significant increase in people agreeing with this statement:
“I understand what actions people like myself should take to help tackle climate change”
Which also accounts for the rise in the number of people who are recycling their waste but which is still only at 55%.
Just over half of households are managing well (56%) with their finances which is an improvement but single parents and single adults continue to be those who are struggling to make ends meet. This also means that those on lower incomes often have no savings at all to fall back on.
Commenting on the Scottish Household Survey findings John Swinney Deputy First Minister in the Scottish Government said:
“Climate change is one of the biggest issues of our time and it is clearly at the forefront of people’s minds. Tackling this global threat is one of the Scottish Government’s top priorities and our new Climate Change Bill means net-zero emissions of carbon dioxide by 2050 – in other words Scotland will be carbon neutral.
“The Scottish Household Survey is a unique opportunity for people to share their views and experiences and help government to understand the issues affecting communities.
“This year’s results show that many people are managing well financially and the majority are happy with their neighbourhoods and local services but we can see that inequalities remain.
“We are working to reduce poverty and social exclusion through a range of actions across government including investing £125 million this year alone to mitigate the very worst effects of UK Government welfare cuts and protect those on low incomes. These findings will help us continue to make decisions to shape a fair and inclusive Scotland for everyone.”
The survey did show that most people are happy about where they live but what we cannot get away from is the deep inequality that continues to affect the lives of thousands of Scots.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame