A CHARITY boss has said politicians must act with greater compassion and “properly protect” people from poverty after a poll showed people in the UK are among the most pessimistic in the world about their incomes.

An Ipsos survey showed almost half of Brits (46%) expect their disposable income to fall in the coming year – the highest out of 29 countries monitored by the firm including France, Sweden, Canada and Australia.

The same proportion think the UK economy is in recession while a whopping 60% think it will be at least a year before inflation returns to normal, the most gloomy outlook of any country bar Sweden.

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More than a quarter also said they were finding it difficult to get by financially, up from a fifth a year ago.

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, had called on politicians to do more to address the injustice of poverty and ensure everyone has an adequate income for their needs.

Kelly said: “For too many people there is little to feel hopeful when they think about their incomes.

“The increasing cost of living, the aftermath of the pandemic, or the rise of insecure work make many of us pessimistic about the future.

“What would reduce that pessimism is if politicians and decisionmakers acted with greater compassion and did all they could to address the injustice of poverty, and properly protected and supported households who are struggling.

“It doesn’t have to be like this. Scotland and the UK are wealthy countries. We can share wealth and power so that every household has an income adequate for their needs, allowing us all to build for the future with optimism.”

The survey also showed four in five people expect the price of their food shopping to continue to rise over the next six months and more than three in four Brits think the cost of their utilities will increase too.

It comes as new figures show food prices were up by 17.2% from a year ago in the four weeks to the middle of May, with data analytics company Kantar warning an average annual grocery bill is now up to £833 higher than a year ago.

The Bank of England’s own forecasts suggest inflation is unlikely to return to its 2% target until the end of 2024 or start of 2025.

SNP economy spokesperson Stewart Hosie said: “The UK cost of living crisis has been years in the making – as Tory cuts, Brexit, stagnant wages and soaring housing costs hammer household incomes. It’s no wonder people are gloomy about the prospects for change under Westminster control.

“People in Scotland are poorer as a direct result of the damaging decisions being imposed upon us by the Tories and pro-Brexit Labour Party – showing exactly why Scotland needs to become an independent country.

“Independence is essential to delivering prosperity and real change for Scotland. The SNP will continue to press the UK Government for immediate action on cost of living but only with independence can Scotland escape the damage of Brexit and Westminster control, and build a stronger economy in Europe.”