Report reveals almost 80,000 people in Edinburgh are living in poverty
New data on poverty rates in the city reveals that 78,900 people in the Capital were living in relative poverty after housing costs last year, including 16,100 children.
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The Edinburgh Poverty Commission's findings do not yet incorporate the full impacts of the Covid-19 on poverty rates and levels.
The first official data covering the period affected by the pandemic is expected to be made available in Spring 2022.
However, many industry experts have highlighted the significant impact Covid-19 will continue to have on poverty with most commentators projecting a rise in poverty rates across the UK during late 2021 and early 2022.
This increase will be driven in part by rising living costs including the cost of energy, planned benefits cuts, and slow earnings growth.
The figures reveal the scale of the challenge facing Edinburgh City Council who announced plans to end poverty by 2030, the first first local authority in the UK to set such a target.
To remain on track to meet this target, a minimum of 12 percentage point reduction on all age poverty is needed by 2024 and a five percentage point reduction in poverty is needed by 2024. This means removing 1,000 children from poverty in Edinburgh each year.
Long and difficult road ahead, says council
The council’s deputy leader and depute chair of the Edinburgh Poverty Commission, Cammy Day said the road to fully eradicating poverty in the city will be a "long and difficult journey".
He added: “No one is underestimating the scale of the challenge we face.
“Tackling poverty is one of our key priorities as a council and our 2030 target is ambitious but one I’m convinced can be achieved.”
In 2021 the council delivered over 44,000 crisis and community care grants, more than double the previous year.
The council also provided 8,800 Free School Meal payments, 8,300 School Uniform Grant payments and provided 45,864 meals as food parcels and 3,654 pre-prepared meals to people in food crisis.
Work has also started to tackle the city’s housing problem, this year the council invested £41.5m in building new homes and reducing the number of rough sleepers in the Capital.
An encouraging start but these are just the first steps
Speaking to the Evening News about the 2030 target, Council Leader Adam McVey said: “As a city, we’re trying to eradicate poverty by the end of the decade and we’re the first local authority in the UK to set such a target. Tackling poverty and inequality in our city drives the choices we are making as a council such as our new business plan which has ending poverty by 2030 as one of its three core priorities.
“Additional investment is also required and this Spring we agreed a budget package of £2.5m specifically targeted at poverty. Last year we spent or administered over £100m in core anti-poverty measures to support our citizens.
“We have made an encouraging start but these are just the first steps, it’s critical the positive work of the past year continues.“
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