East Lothian Council

East Lothian Poverty Commission report launch

Published Thursday 16th February 17

DanielBlakeInvite

Local residents invited to launch of East Lothian Poverty Commission's report

Join the East Lothian Poverty Commission at the launch of their report ‘Challenging Perceptions, Overcoming Poverty’ at St Martin’s Church Hall. High Street, Tranent on Friday 24 February at 6.30pm. This will be followed by a free showing of the BAFTA winning film I, Daniel Blake.

The commission was set up to address evidence of growing levels of deprivation and inequality across East Lothian and to identify ways to tackle poverty and reduce its impact. Work began in 2016 to prepare a report on the current impact on people living in poverty in East Lothian – and the extent of the problem.

Commissioners heard evidence from a range of national and local experts on a range of topics related to poverty including education, employment, the economy, housing and fuel poverty, health inequality, financial inclusion, criminal justice, mental health and wellbeing. The work of the commission was also heavily influenced by local people living in poverty in East Lothian.

The initial report was accepted by East Lothian Council and work will continue to create a more equal society in our county – with a move to give a higher priority to tackling inequality and preventing people from falling into poverty.

Recommendations in the report focus on actions at local level but also provide comments on changes that are needed at UK and Scottish Government levels.

  • East Lothian should become a ‘Living Wage’ local authority area with a focus on skills development for the most vulnerable in our society
  • Increasing the supply of social rented housing and increasing supply of appropriate temporary accommodation to reduce reliance on B&B accommodation for those who find themselves homeless
  • Increasing access to affordable credit in East Lothian and the inclusion of financial education in the school curriculum
  • The DWP, UK & Scottish Governments should consider the implications of the current administration of universal credit and other benefit changes on vulnerable people and make adjustment to ensure a fairer approach
  • Expansion of activities and food for school children in the mornings and during school holidays, and minimising the cost of the school day and school trips
  • Increase development of food networks, clubs & projects aimed at i increasing access to healthy food and the cooking skills
  • More integrated public transport including the potential development of a bus pass scheme for those returning to work

Council Leader Willie Innes said:

“I welcome this report and commend the Poverty Commissioners for their work to raise awareness of poverty in our communities. The council remains commitment to tackling poverty and reducing inequality and we will work with partners to take forward the recommendations contained in the report. . We have always had strong communities in East Lothian and Area Partnerships have increased local people’s say in how public funds are spent and what the priorities should be. Both the council and the partnerships have a key role to play in reducing the amount of people living in poverty and the effects that can have.”

The launch event will feature a showing of the film ‘I, Daniel Blake’ and the opportunity to talk to the Commissioners about their work and how their recommendations can be taken forward together.

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