Edinburgh commits to ending poverty within decade
The council’s policy committee agreed to sign up to the 2030 target proposed by the Capital’s independent Poverty Commission, which reported last month, setting out proposals including more land for housing and becoming a Living Wage City next year.
Depute council leader Cammy Day pledged: “This is not a report that will be stuck on a shelf, this is a report that will be in our face for the next ten years.”
And he said the responsibility for ending poverty fell not just to the council but the city as a whole, including private businesses and the Scottish and UK governments.
He said: “Poverty impacts on everybody – it could be your or me tomorrow.”
But the SNP/Labour administration came under fire from the Conservatives for being too slow to get going on with the task.
Tory group leader Iain Whyte said: “The actions are not quick enough or good enough at this stage. Most times when you have a report like this worked up alongside a major organisation like the council the day you publish the organisation itself will also public some early actions it wants to take forward to start work straightaway solving the problems outlined in the report. That is wholly missing in this case.
"This has been worked up with the deputy leader of the council on the commission yet there is no response about what the services can do to change matters. That's what we want.”
More than 77,000 people are estimated to be living in poverty in Edinburgh – almost 15 per cent of the population, including one in five children. The majority of them are in employment, have families, and live in rented accommodation.
The commission’s report, A Just Edinburgh: Actions to End Poverty in Edinburgh, said: “Poverty in Edinburgh is real and damaging, but it can be solved.”
It argued extra government funding to solve the city’s housing crisis was the top priority.
But it claimed the biggest single transformation that could be achieved would be to make the experience of seeking help less painful, less complex, more humane, and more compassionate.