MORE Scots are living in relative poverty as the inequality gap grows, official statistics reveal.

New data shows that the richest 10% of the population now earns one-third more than the worst-off 40% combined.

As many as 1.03 million people – one in five – now live below the poverty threshold after housing costs.

And 240,000 children are classed as living in poverty, most of whom – two-thirds – come from working households.

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The number of people in relative poverty – with an income 60% lower than the recognised middle income – after housing costs had been falling since the late 1990s until that trend reversed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

Absolute poverty, in which incomes do not keep pace with inflation, has also crept up, rising by around 20,000.

Meanwhile, approximately 390,000 adults on low pay were found to be experiencing in-work poverty between 2015-18, the period covered by the new statistics.

People from non-white minority ethnic groups are more likely to be in relative poverty than those from other backgrounds – the poverty rate for individuals from a mixed, black or black British, or other ethnic group is almost 40%.

Stark figures for the rest of the UK were also released yesterday, when the Scottish Government, which plans to introduce an income supplement by 2022, said it is fighting poverty with “one hand tied behind its back” due to Westminster austerity.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said she was disappointed about the figures, adding: “A key driver in rising poverty is the devastating impact of the UK Government’s welfare cuts and benefits freeze – policies we have consistently called for an end to.”

But John Dickie, of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), said: “Families struggling now cannot wait years for the Scottish Government’s promised income supplement, welcome as it is.

“Whilst there is no question rising child poverty is driven by UK Government social security cuts, Scottish ministers must act now and use new powers to boost family incomes immediately.”

The UK Government said: “We recognise that some families need more support and are looking at what more can be done to help the most vulnerable and improve their life chances.

“Meanwhile, Scotland has significant welfare powers and can top up existing benefits, pay discretionary payments and create new benefits.”