Learning from the Past – For a Better Future – Poverty Alliance Annual Conference 2022

Thank you

Many thanks to everyone who came to our #BetterFuture conference. You can find images of the day here, as well as the conference agenda and access to our YouTube channel, with recordings of the opening address by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP, and our afternoon panel discussion.

This conference will come at a critical time. After coming through the pandemic, where the expectation was that we would ‘build back better’, our country is now gripped by the cost-of-living crisis. Rising inflation, particularly increased energy costs, alongside inadequate social security benefits and stagnating wages are placing thousands more people at risk of poverty. We know that that this is not an inevitable situation. The Poverty Alliance’s 30th anniversary annual conference will be an opportunity to reflect on the policies and actions that have helped reduce poverty in the past, and what more we can do in the future to deliver real change for individuals and communities across Scotland.

Who should attend

This conference is for all those who are interested in understanding poverty in Scotland and how it can be reduced. Members of the Poverty Alliance will be given priority in booking, but the event is open to all those who wish to contribute to the fight against poverty. The conference is FREE to attend. If you are representing a grassroots member of the Poverty Alliance or are living on a low income, please contact us about support with travel and care costs.


09:30 Registration

10:00 Opening Address: Meeting Scotland’s Future Poverty Challenge

          Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland

Followed by Q&A

11:00 Break

11:20 Workshop sessions

Workshop 1: Making Work Pay – From Rhetoric to Reality

A decent job for many people should be a route out of poverty. Over the last 30 years we have seen our labour market change significantly, including high levels of employment and low levels of unemployment. But is our labour market really working for everyone? And what should we be doing to fix it? This workshop will consider where progress has been made and what still needs to change.

Dave Moxham, Deputy General Secretary, STUC / Gail Irvine, Living Wage Foundation / Chair – Christine McCaig, Living Wage Scotland Manager, Poverty Alliance

Workshop 2: A More Equal Society?

Despite decades of equalities legislation our society remains deeply divided along lines of gender, race and disability. These divisions are reflected in the patterns of poverty in our society. The workshop will look at where we have made progress in addressing equalities and what is stopping us from make further progress

Marianne Scobie, Deputy CEO, Glasgow Disability Alliance / Talat Yaqoob, Campaigner / Cat Murphy, Executive Director, Engender / Chair – Ruth Boyle, Policy & Parliamentary Manager, Poverty Alliance

Workshop 3: Listen Hear – Poverty & Participation

More than 20 years ago the Commission on Poverty, Participation and Power highlighted the need for people in poverty to be involved in decision making processes. Since then many anti-poverty organisations have taken up the cause of participation. But what difference is it making and how can we have a bigger impact?

Elaine Downie, Coordinator, Poverty Truth Community / Mick Doyle, Head of Programme, Scottish Community Development Centre / Chair: David Reilly, Communities and Networks Manager, Poverty Alliance

Workshop 4: Under pressure – Social Security & Poverty

Our social security system has been in a process of almost continuous reform over the last 30 years. But have any of these changes had a positive impact on the lives of people who need support? This workshop will review some of the main changes in the UK social security system and consider what changes are needed to begin fixing the system.

John Dickie, Director, CPAG Scotland / Professor Sharon Wright, University of Glasgow / Chair: Fiona McHardy, Research and Information Manager, Poverty Alliance

12:30 Lunch
Including Poverty Alliance AGM at 13:00

13:30 Afternoon Session: Policy Priority Workshops

Workshop 1: Secure Incomes for All: Steps towards a Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland

Ensuring everyone has an adequate income is at the heart of addressing poverty. In recent years there has been growing support for a Minimum Income Guarantee in Scotland – but what does this mean and how will we secure it? This workshop will explore progress so far and what the next steps could be in Scotland.

Russell Gunson, Robertson Trust and Chair of MIG Expert Group / Rachel Statham, Associate Director, IPPR (tbc) / Chair: Peter Kelly, Poverty Alliance

Workshop 2: Decent Services for All: How can we guarantee the basic social services we need?

We all need good services, whether its transport, health, or housing. Alongside calls for minimum incomes there has been new calls to ensure that everyone has access to the basic services that can help reduce poverty and inequality. What would a universal basic services in Scotland look like and how do we get there?

Maeve Cohen, Project Lead, The Social Guarantee / Andrew Percy, Co-Director, Social Prosperity Network (tbc) / Chair: Ruth Boyle, Poverty Alliance

Workshop 3: Better Communities for All: A place based approach to poverty

We often look at poverty through the lens of individuals or families. Taking a whole community view can help to consider the systems and processes that sustain poverty. There are many area based approaches to addressing poverty – how do we get ones that will make a real impact and have lasting change?

Neil McInroy, Senior Fellow, Democracy Collaborative / Patrycja Kupiec, Head of Edinburgh Trust, Turn to Us / Chair: David Reilly, Poverty Alliance

14:30 Final Discussion Panel: 30 Years of Fighting Poverty: What have we learned?

          Peter Kenway, Director, New Policy Institute

          Alison Garnham, CEO, Child Poverty Action Group (tbc)

          Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick

          Polly Jones, Head of Scotland, the Trussell Trust

          Annie McCormack, Chair, Broke not Broken

          Chair: Peter Kelly, Poverty Alliance

15:30  Close

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