Edinburgh has launched its own poverty commission on the same day as a leading charity revealed worries about the quality of temporary accommodation for homeless people in the Capital.
Shelter Scotland said that 22 per cent of all people who approached it for help in Edinburgh last year were either homeless or facing homelessness that night. Of all the households that were already homeless or at risk of homelessness, 299 were families with children.
Currently 22 per cent of all children in Edinburgh live in poverty – and as much as 30 per cent in some parts of the city.
Dr Jim McCormick has been appointed to chair the first Edinburgh Poverty Commission to tackle what the depute council leader has labelled a “devastating, deep seated and city-wide problem”.
Council depute leader and poverty champion, Cllr Cammy Day, added: “If we are going to make a difference, we need everyone in the city to work together, for example, involving the business community will be key to our success. If our city economy is to continue to thrive everyone needs to benefit from the prosperity it brings. But most importantly, I want to ensure that we understand what it is like to experience poverty in Edinburgh and to focus on the things that will make a difference to people’s lives. This will be a commission that listens to the local and unique concerns of citizens in the city.”
Dr McCormick is the associate director for Scotland with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which has warned that children are in poverty largely because their parents are restricted by a lack of work, due to disability or the struggle to juggle work and childcare.
Dr McCormick said: “Poverty in Scotland’s capital city looks different from a generation ago. It affects people in work as well as those who are not working. It reflects the struggle to get enough hours, decent work and affordable housing.
“We know that poverty locks people out of opportunities, now and in future. But poverty is a challenge that can be solved by enabling people to withstand the tide of insecurity. This commission will shine a bright light on the lived reality of poverty in Edinburgh and search out workable solutions for the long term.”
Recommendations will be made by the commission on a programme of actions and activities needed to reduce, prevent, and mitigate the effects of poverty and inequality in Edinburgh by the end of 2019.
The Scottish Government is funding the commission to ensure that people with experience of poverty participate fully in its work and shape its thinking.