Housing and fuel key to Dundee anti-poverty plan

Jimmy Black
Jimmy Black

Fuel poverty and poor housing conditions in Dundee are among the key indicators of poverty in the city and beyond, according to a new report.

Dundee’s first Fairness Commission, which was set up to tackle the causes and effects of poverty at a national and local level, has found that people living in poverty have a higher risk of living in poor housing conditions than others.

Less than a year after its first meeting, the 17-strong group of experts has released its recommendations including campaigning to change national policies and hold governments to account on their commitments, join up local service delivery and target resources at those most in need.

Among a raft of recommendations is a drive to increase the supply and range of affordable housing options; improve the quality of private rented housing and support private rented sector tenants to ensure their property meets the Repairing Standard.

The 26-page document, launched at a special Dundee Partnership Forum event, highlights the facts, findings and existing provision as well as making recommendations in six key areas – food and fuel; housing and communities; benefits, advice and support; closing the education gap; work and wages and stigma.

Cllr Jimmy Black, convener of the commission, said: “We made a commitment to bring forward a thorough and well researched plan to deal with one of the most difficult issues facing our city and I believe these recommendations fulfil that promise.

“I said when we launched the commission that I wanted to see us make recommendations that will lead to real change and that will make the well established strategy for tackling poverty in Dundee much more successful and that is exactly what this report does.

“It has galvanised support from across the political spectrum and from agencies, organisations and individuals from every corner of the city.

“The valuable in-put we have had throughout the commission’s life from all of those partners goes on, but as that process continues what we have here is a document that can be the catalyst for real change in Dundee.

“Our work with the commission to date has been eye-opening, even for those of us who deal with poverty and its effects on people and communities, and so to be at a point where we can offer tangible actions to begin the journey that will rid our city of its most corrosive consequences is extremely encouraging.”

Alison Henderson, chief executive of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, who is a member of the commission said: “Eradicating poverty in Dundee must be a priority for all of us and the business community can play its part by looking closely at its own employment and recruitment practices.

“I am confident that our members will seize the baton that the Fairness Commission has extended and run with it to improve the lives of people blighted by poverty in the city.”

Fellow commissioner Ginny Lawson of the Brooksbank Partnership added: “We see the effects of poverty on individuals and families in our communities on a daily basis.

“The commission has helped raise the voice of the voluntary sector to fully endorse the findings and recommendations and we are looking forward to playing our part in achieving the aims laid out in the report.”

Dundee Fairness Commission was created under the auspices of the Dundee Partnership which pools the strengths of key agencies including Dundee City Council, Scottish Enterprise, Police Scotland and NHS Tayside, along with local academic institutions and representatives of the business, voluntary and community sectors to ensure that it makes a significant and lasting contribution.

Among its terms of reference were to identify and investigate the key local causes and consequences of poverty along with policy and practical measures to address these; seek the views and involvement of those experiencing poverty first hand and prepare a report for the Dundee Partnership and Dundee City Council with recommendations on additional priorities for action to tackle and reduce poverty in the city.

The commission’s work was carried out in three stages culminating in the final report.

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