First minister announce who will sit on the poverty and equality commission
A poverty and inequality commission is to be created in Scotland after two years of campaigning by anti-poverty groups.
Nicola Sturgeon announced the creation of the new commission this week following an independent report which made 18 recommendations on how poverty should be tackled in Scotland.
Douglas Hamilton, director of the RS Macdonald Charitable Trust, has been appointed as chairman of the commission while Kaliani Lyle, former chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland, is to be one of his deputies.
The Scottish government said the commission's first task would be to provide advice to ministers on the first child poverty delivery plan, which is due in April 2018.
The Scottish Parliament's social security committee recently voted at Stage 2 of the child poverty (Scotland) bill for a Poverty and Inequality Commission to have a statutory role in scrutinising delivery of the child poverty targets.
Oxfam Scotland welcomed the announcement.
Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “If we are to face up to the entrenched challenges of poverty and inequality, this Commission must offer robust, transparent, and independent scrutiny of policies and progress in Scotland, whilst proposing stretching new measures.
“Today's announcement provides a solid foundation to drive forward the work of reducing poverty and economic inequality in Scotland, both of which are at worryingly high levels.
It is particularly welcome that the commission reflects many of Oxfam Scotland's recommendations – we hope the newly appointed chair will now revisit these in the coming days to strengthen the commission further still.”
Livingstone added: “Members of the social security committee deserve significant credit for their scrutiny of the child poverty bill and we believe this has led to the creation of a more ambitious commision.
“It is clear that further discussions are now needed to ensure strong scrutiny of the child poverty targets whilst retaining all that is good in the Scottish Government's planned commission.”
However Oxfam Scotland said it believes the proposal should be strengthened in a number of areas – including: the frequency of reporting on economic inequality; the need for the commission to set its own work-streams entirely independently of ministers; and greater clarity over the commission's ability to call witnesses.