Council candidates urged to pledge to combat poverty

Candidates in next month’s local elections are being urged to take a pledge to tackle poverty in their communities.

Mark Dowie
Sunday, 1st May 2022, 7:00am
Council candidates urged to pledge to combat poverty

The pledge will shows that candidates support the measures in a new manifesto launched by the Poverty Alliance, including prioritising poverty as an issue, boosting incomes, improving local services, and strengthening communities.

The group is made up of a network of different organisations which are unified in their aim of combating poverty and inequality in Scotland.

Peter Kelly, the organisation’s director, said: “In a country full of compassion, poverty is rightly seen as an injustice. But it's an injustice we can put right.

“In communities the length and breadth of Scotland – from Glasgow to Gretna and from Dornoch to Dumfries – people are finding it increasingly difficult to stay afloat.

"Unless every level of government meets its moral duty to protect people from poverty, the rising tide of poverty risks becoming a flood.

“May’s local authority elections come at a critical moment. People living on low incomes in Scotland need councillors and councils that will prioritise the actions that will stem the rising tide of poverty, and that will use local powers to strengthen and empower communities to take action themselves.”

The manifesto says that local economic development should be focused on creating high quality, secure jobs that pay at least the real Living Wage, as well as improving services – such as childcare and transport – that low-income households disproportionately rely upon.

It also calls on councils to make sure people know how to apply for help from the Scottish Welfare Fund, and that they guarantee same-day processing and payment of Crisis Grants – something which can be the difference between a visit to the supermarket, or a visit to the local foodbank.

It also says councillors should increase access to free school meals, ensure that childcare is flexible enough to meet the needs of low-income households and work towards the provision of affordable, accessible, and publicly owned bus networks.

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