Edinburgh’s Poverty Commission holds inaugural meeting
The City of Edinburgh Council appointed Jim McCormick, associate director for Scotland with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, as independent chair to lead the Edinburgh Poverty Commission last month to join vice-chair, Cammy Day, depute leader of the City of Edinburgh Council and the council’s poverty champion.
The chair and vice-chair have now selected nine commissioners and one commission advisor who provide strong skills and experience across a wide range of fields including business, housing, trades unions, third sector, project delivery, health, and education. The commission also includes citizens with direct experience of living in poverty in Edinburgh.
At yesterday’s meeting, the commissioners agreed the programme of work they will carry out over the next year and another four sessions will take place throughout 2019, with each one focusing on different themes related to the experience of poverty in Edinburgh including child poverty, education and attainment, work and incomes, living costs, health and wellbeing, housing, transport, places and communities.
A final report with recommendations for action will be agreed and published by December 2019.
Commission chair Jim McCormick said: “We have a rare opportunity to explore the modern face of poverty in Edinburgh. We already know that high housing costs, insecure work and the social security freeze combine to pull thousands of city residents into poverty.
“Our job is to listen with care, ask uncomfortable questions and identify better solutions alongside people struggling to make ends meet. Edinburgh can take big strides towards solving poverty by unlocking opportunities in the here and now, and with the long term in mind.”
Commission vice-chair Cllr Cammy Day added: “A huge amount of work has gone into setting up an independent Commission for Edinburgh and I’m delighted we’re had our first meeting. The calibre of commissioners selected for the role is extremely high. I look forward to working with them all to drive forward the change we need to reduce poverty and inequality across the city.
“Most importantly, we have citizens with lived experience as commissioners to keep us all focused on what matters most. If we are to make a difference, what people and our communities think and want will have to be at the heart of every session.
“To ensure our city economy continues to thrive we must all now work together to ensure that everyone benefits from the prosperity so many people in Edinburgh already experiencing.”