Stick Your Labels Campaign

The Stick Your Labels campaign was initially launched in 2010/11 to challenge the stigma of poverty. 

It emerged from a working group set up by the Poverty Alliance, which involved people with direct experience of poverty, who developed a series of statements which the leaders of the five main political parties signed up to.

The aim of the campaign since then has been to highlight the negative impact of attitudes around poverty.

We have launched a short film highlighting the myths about poverty, made with people living on low incomes, and have attempted to keep issues of attitudes in the public eye.

The campaign was re-launched in the Scottish Parliament in May 2015, and the Poverty Alliance will be approaching political parties, public sector organisations, voluntary organisations and even private companies and asking them to sign up to a new series of anti-stigma statements.  These statements include a commitment to laying out plans to tackle poverty, to ending the use of stigmatising language and to developing actions that help address negative attitudes towards people experiencing poverty.

Over the coming months, the Poverty Alliance will be hosting a range of seminars looking at how we change public attitudes to poverty.  We are also developing a range of materials which can be used in schools to educate young people about the realities of poverty and the impact of stigma. 

Whilst it is clear that we need the right policies and sufficient resources to properly address the problem of poverty, we also need to challenge the many popular myths and stereotypes about poverty. This campaign aims to do just that...

Get Heard Scotland announced as part of Scottish Government poverty plan

Get Heard Scotland announced as part of Scottish Government poverty plan

Get Heard Scotland announced as part of Scottish Government poverty plan

The Scottish Government’s plan for tackling child poverty was published today, with a new programme being established in partnership with the Poverty Alliance to ensure that people with experience of poverty have their voices heard by policy-makers.

The initiative, Get Heard Scotland, will aim to help engage with people living on low incomes and those working on the issues within communities. It will identify new actions, clarify what works and what doesn’t, and allow more people to contribute directly to the development of anti-poverty policy in Scotland.

It will form part of the Scottish Government’s wider plan for tackling poverty, which also includes commitments to:

  • A new income supplement for families
  • A minimum school clothing grant
  • New support for childcare after school and in the holidays

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, said:

“Whether it is building a new Scottish social security system upon principles of dignity and respect, making it easier for people to access fair work, or improving services in local communities, there is much that can be done to loosen the grip of child poverty in Scotland.

“This new Child Poverty Delivery Plan should help us all focus on the solutions we must implement if we are to solve poverty. To be successful, and to ensure that we are finding the right solutions to address child poverty, we need to listen to the experience of those who are dealing with the realities of poverty.”

 “In Scotland we now have ambitious long term targets to end child poverty. Everyone has a role to play in helping us reach these targets, and it is critical that those who are experience poverty or who are helping tackling it at the grassroots have their voices heard. This new programme will aim to do just that.”



New poverty statistics underline case for action, say campaigners

New poverty statistics underline case for action, say campaigners

New poverty statistics underline case for action, say campaigners

New statistics published today show that levels of poverty in Scotland have continued to rise in recent years, with anti-poverty campaigners calling for them to be used as a catalyst for increased action to solve poverty. The figures, published by the Scottish Government, show that after housing costs, 19% of Scotland’s population - or 1 million people - were living in poverty in 2014 – 2017.

The Poverty Alliance has responded to the figures by calling for an increased focus on the solutions that can help unlock people from poverty. With the Scottish Government establishing a new social security system and soon to publish a Child Poverty Delivery Plan, The Poverty Alliance has emphasised the opportunities and levers that now exist in Scotland to implement the changes required to ensure that everyone in Scotland has a decent standard of living.

Reducing housing costs is, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, one of the ways of ensuring this change takes place, with the Poverty and Inequality Commission recently identifying it as one of the key mechanisms for making the biggest impact on poverty. Members of the Poverty Alliance involved in providing affordable housing and tackling homelessness have responded to the new figures, outlining the contribution they make to addressing poverty.

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, said:

“It cannot be right that 1 million people are now living in poverty in Scotland, and that ever more people are having their choices restricted, their opportunities limited, and their efforts to get by made even more difficult. Low pay, rising living costs, and unstable work mean that, for many, choices between whether to heat their home or pay their rent have become commonplace.

“Last year saw the passing of the Child Poverty Act, and with it came increased hope of a Scotland where people are freed from the grip of poverty. But these statistics serve as a wake-up call. They remind us that if we are to achieve the ambitious targets set by the Act then we must take action now to address the factors that are holding people in poverty.

“Poverty impacts each city, town and community in Scotland, but it needn’t be this way. We all share the goal of solving poverty, and we all seek a Scotland built on justice and compassion. These new figures should strengthen our resolve to make that vision a reality.”

Shona Stephen, Chief Executive of Queens Cross Housing Association said:

“As a housing association we see levels of poverty in north Glasgow day in day out, so these latest figures come as no surprise. Our own research tells us that 19% of tenants said at some time they had chosen to miss a meal or eat less because of a lack of money, and that 35% of tenants said that at some time they had chosen not to put the heating on because of fears over costs.”

‘We do what we can to lift our tenants out of poverty by keeping rents low and putting money back in people’s pockets by providing efficient low cost heating systems and energy efficient homes. These statistics show that we all need to be refocusing efforts even more to effectively tackle this blight on our communities.’

Maggie Brunjes, Director of Glasgow Homelessness Network said:

“The local geography of affluence and poverty is well recognised across Scotland, while its links with housing and homelessness are stark. One third of Scotland’s poorest households spend one third of their income on housing costs. Making tough choices to keep and heat our homes, including through sinister high cost credit, is more common than should be tolerated in Scotland today.

“We know that poverty, particularly childhood poverty, is the most powerful predictor of homelessness in later life. And that we are over 8 times more likely to become homeless when our income is under £10,000 per year, than when it is over £20,000. This creates its own case for urgency on more targeted action on housing and homelessness in Scotland that directly addresses people's material and financial hardship.”



PEP: Let's Tackle In Work Poverty!

PEP: Let's Tackle In Work Poverty!

In November 2017, the European Anti Poverty Network held their 16th annual European Meeting of People Experiencing Poverty, in Brussels with the support of the European Commission and the EAPN fund.  Among the 120 participants were national delegations of EAPN members from 30 countries, representatives from civil society and trade unions, delegates from the European Parliament and Commission among others.
This year's theme was in-work poverty, and the event aimed to allow participants to share their experiences of poverty and promote open dialogue within.  Twimukye Mushaka, fieldwork officer at the Poverty Alliance, took three delegates with experience of poverty to the event where they were able to share their experiences in an empowering space.
The top 10 key messages collated were:
  • In many countries there is a huge need for adequate social protection, access to understandable information, organizations to which people can turn for help and social support, and more client orientated services
  • We must invest in people-centred services (rights, access) before profit
  • We need binding and collective wage agreements, regardless of gender
  • We need transferability of social rights across borders, linked to a European Social Security Number (e.g. people living in border areas)
  • We must inform young people of their working rights, and empower them to stand up for these rights
  • We must combat and punish those who profit from the exploitation of migrants
  • We need free, lifelong education for all
  • We must broaden minds by making education about politics, power and society a compulsory part of educational systems
  • We must promote non-discrimination in access to employment for over 50s
  • We must reorganise labour markets to promote growth based on quality jobs, adequate minimum wage and dignity!
To read the report in full, please click here.

In Our Own Words: Challenging the Myths of Poverty

Speaking out about the myths of poverty is something that everyone needs to do. In this short video, community activists involved with the Poverty Alliance, respond to some of the most common myths about poverty. All of the people involved have direct experience of living on low incomes.  

Action to Tackle Stigma

If you want to get involved in the Stick Your Labels Campaign, or if you want someone to come and talk to your group about the issues please contact the Poverty Alliance. Over the coming months we will be producing more materials and keeping you updated on the latest developments, so please check back regularly.  

Poverty and Stigma: The Organisational Challenge!

We need leadership around this issue. Leaders in public life in Scotland must show that they will not accept the stigmatising language used to describe poverty and those who live on low incomes.

So the first action we have taken is to encourage political leaders and Chief Executives of large organisations to sign up to our newly revised anti stigma statements.

Stick Your Labels Iain Duncan Smith

The Poverty Alliance have responded with anger today to Iain Duncan Smith’s announcement that people experiencing poverty should receive their benefits via a pre-paid smart card which can only be used to buy ‘essentials’.
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions has stated that benefits would be loaded onto this pre-paid card and transactions would be automatically stopped if people tried to pay for anything which wasn’t deemed essential.  
The Poverty Alliance has said that this will increase the stigma attached to experiencing poverty and implies that the reasons for poverty are individual rather than structural.  The Poverty Alliance runs the ‘Stick Your Labels’ campaign which seeks to end the stigma of living in poverty.
Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance, said today:
“This is an unwelcome and disgraceful move from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
“This not only increases the stigma of being in receipt of benefits but puts the blame on the individual.
“The causes of poverty are political, there is no need for poverty to exist and if this Government made a real commitment to tackling poverty then millions of people could see their circumstances improve.
“Instead we have seen a punitive regime of ‘welfare reform’ and more and more people being pushed into poverty.
“Moving to a pre-paid smart card will undermine the dignity and rights of people in receipt of benefits.  
“It is because of actions like these that the Stick Your Labels campaign was formed.
“Politicians should know better than to use divisive, stigmatising language when talking about people experiencing poverty.  
“This speech by Iain Duncan Smith has been very unhelpful and we would urge him to seriously re-consider these plans”.
For further information contact Carla McCormack, Policy and Parliamentary Officer, 0141 353 0440


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