2 December 2020

When we launched our final report, A Just Capital , we specifically asked public bodies to endorse our Call to Action.

The City of Edinburgh Council, was yesterday (1 December), first off the mark and Councillors on the local authority’s Policy and Sustainability Committee have approved the establishment of the End Poverty in Edinburgh Delivery Plan 2020-30.

This is hugely encouraging to witness the actions to end poverty being prioritised into the organisation’s workstreams. Indeed, based on our learning from conversations with citizens in Edinburgh, we have long called for incorporating a long-term relationship-based approach to public service as a key route to understanding the needs and priorities of communities.

Understandably this will be a major challenge, but if done right, it will be an advantageous shift towards delivering better public service overall.

For example, within the Delivery Plan, we are pleased to see moves such as the creation of a fair work city where employment that provides dignity and security becomes commonplace. This too will be underscored by wraparound advice services that are a lifeline to many people in providing opportunities that drive justice and boosting prospects.

Of course, we’ve said all along that many of the policy levers that are required to end poverty in Edinburgh require input from all scales of government. Therefore, it is refreshing to see that, where issues are beyond the Council’s control, it will, where possible, assert its influence to lobby the Scottish and UK Governments to extend their powers in a targeted way. Without big change, we can’t end poverty and this commitment is a firm foundation to build on.

While the publication of the Council’s Delivery Plan is an encouraging milestone, we know that this is the first step on a long road to truly ending poverty in Edinburgh. As such, we need to see other public bodies accept this challenge, including the Edinburgh Partnership, whose members include NHS Lothian, further and higher education providers and private sector representatives in the city. By working together, key partners can, and undoubtedly will, make a vital contribution to assert their collective authority in ending poverty.

Overall, we understand and are reassured that this will be a journey which will be monitored and reviewed right the way through, and a detailed progress monitoring framework on the Delivery Plan will be brought back to Committee within two cycles.

Likewise, we know that the newly formed independent network, End Poverty Edinburgh, will bring together a core group of residents with first-hand experience of living on a low income and allies to hold those in authority to account and be part of shaping the solutions needed to realise the ambitions of the Delivery Plan.

Yet, looking long-term, as is required, these actions set out in the Delivery Plan must be matched up with changes to commitments in funding for the next decade.

We know already that the ambitious appetite for change in the city along with bold leadership is already there, but it will undoubtedly need the funding and resources to follow through if any commitments are to be realised into long-awaited action.

The Committee session can be viewed online here.

Photo: The City Chambers Edinburgh, cc-by-sa/2.0 © Ronnie Leask – geograph.org.uk/p/989163