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New councillors must pledge to make poverty their top priority

This news post is about 2 years old

A charity is urging candidates in May’s local council elections to take a pledge to tackle poverty in their communities.

A new manifesto, launched on Thursday by the Poverty Alliance, includes measures such as prioritising poverty as an issue, boosting incomes, improving local services, and strengthening communities.

The charity has said candidates standing in local authorities across Scotland should back the manifesto and promise to tackle poverty in their own communities as a result. 

Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly 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. 

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance

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

The manifesto claims 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 – like childcare and transport – that low-income households disproportionately rely upon.

The charity 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.

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 affordable, accessible, and publicly owned bus networks, the charity said.

Mr Kelly added: “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.”



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