At yesterday’s (6 October 2020) meeting of the City of Edinburgh Council’s Policy and Sustainability Committee, our final report, A Just Capital: Actions to End Poverty in Edinburgh, setting Edinburgh the challenge to end poverty by 2030 was considered and accepted by elected members.
Chair of the Commission, Dr Jim McCormick, provided an overview of the report’s actions, and was followed by Commission member, Zoe Ferguson, who delivered an outline of plans to develop the new End Poverty Edinburgh network.
Following this, Councillors from all parties recorded their thanks and praised the Commission’s work over the last two years. They also noted the significance of this report.
Going forward this means that Councillors agreed that the Council will work with employers, the public sector and third sector agencies across the city, to come together to challenge poverty within Edinburgh by providing:
- The right support in the places people work and live
- Fair work that provides dignity and security
- A decent home people can afford to live in
- Income security that provides a real safety net
- Opportunities that drive justice and boost prospects
- Connections in a city that belongs to its citizens, and
- Equality in health and wellbeing
The committee also agreed to work closely with End Poverty Edinburgh to implement the actions. This is a group of Edinburgh citizens we have met during our inquiry, who have expressed their desire and commitment to be a part of the change their city needs to make. Some members have experience of living in poverty, others see the impact of poverty directly through their work and others are allies who care and want to see justice for their fellow citizens.
Speaking after the meeting, Adam McVey, Council Leader, said:
“Tackling poverty in Edinburgh is one of our key priorities as a Council – enabling everyone in our City to take advantage of everything the Capital has to offer. We have already made significant resources available for people and are working hard to eradicate poverty in our city. Now we’re doubling down, taking on the research and recommendations from the Commission to guide us as we work towards our goal of ending poverty in the Capital within the next 10 years.
“One of the most powerful elements of the work done by the Commission was hearing and responding to the voices of those who have lived experience of poverty in Edinburgh. Our first priority will be to meet and agree ways of working with the new group End Poverty Edinburgh to ensure that their views can continue to shape the way we implement the Commission’s findings.
“We know that this will not be an easy task, but Edinburgh is a city of wealth and enormous talent and we’re determined to work with the Scottish and UK Governments, citywide partners– and of course, our residents – to drive the change that is so greatly needed.”
Cammy Day, Depute Council Leader and Depute Chair of the Edinburgh Poverty Commission, also commented noting that:
“We’re in no doubt that this is an ambitious target and it is one that we need the whole city to embrace as well as support from Scottish and UK Governments to achieve. Poverty can impact any one of us at any time, and we need to take a Team Edinburgh approach to tackle it, where organisations, communities and residents work together to end poverty in Edinburgh by 2030. We welcome the opportunity to work in collaboration with others, such as the Edinburgh Partnership and relevant organisations in the public, private and third sectors, to make this happen.
“We know that, while the pandemic has certainly escalated the situation, this is a crisis that requires urgent attention and I’m heartened by the endorsement that the Commission’s report received today.
“Again, I would like to thank all of those in the Edinburgh Poverty Commission and End Poverty Edinburgh, as well as every person who took the time to give us their thoughts or tell us their own stories, for the incredible work that has been done to date.”
Photo: The City Chambers Edinburgh, cc-by-sa/2.0 © Ronnie Leask – geograph.org.uk/p/989163