Income and Poverty

Referendum briefing: housing and low income in Scotland

  • Published 27th Apr 2014
  • Authors: Hannah Aldridge, , Tom MacInnes,
  • Category: Income and Poverty

An overview of housing costs for low-income families in Scotland.

This second referendum briefing looks at housing costs in Scotland, how the Scottish Government has used its powers on housing to date and the challenges that lie ahead. Key points include: 

  • Scotland’s historically large share of social housing has fallen by 17 percentage points in the last decade (compared to 5 per cent in England)
  • Meanwhile, the proportion of households in the private rented sector (PRS) has almost doubled, from 8 per cent to 14 per cent in 2011.
  • The number of households in poverty in the PRS has doubled in the last decade to 120,000, while the number in social housing has almost halved to 190,000.
  • Households in Scotland spend a smaller share of their income on housing costs than in England. However, private renters in Scotland now spend 23 per cent of their income on housing, up from 18 per cent a decade ago.


About this report
This report was funded by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) and written by Hannah Aldridge, Tom Macinnes and Peter Kenway of the New Policy Institute. The facts presented and views expressed in this report are those of the authors and not necessarily those of JRF.