Never the Same Again? Addressing Poverty After the Pandemic
Poverty Alliance Annual Conference
9 October 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has shone a light on many of aspects of social injustice in our society. It has highlighted the importance of our social security system in providing a lifeline when we need it most, but the weaknesses in our current system. We have seen the critical importance of so many workers in keeping our society going, and also seen that that work is undervalued, unrecognised and precarious. It has also highlighted how the underlying patterns of inequality hit some people hardest - women, disabled people, people from black and minority ethnic communities.
We have also seen community solidarity, a new appreciation of key workers and a growing sense of the need for change, and to 'build back better'. But what is the likelihood of the disruption that we have experienced bringing about a move towards addressing this social injustice? Our annual conference this year will consider how the pandemic has impacted on people living on low incomes, what it means for the future, and how we can begin to make positive change from the our collective experience.
Our annual conference this year will be a series of sessions to explore different aspects of the impact of the pandemic. The discussions at our conference are designed to open up discussion about how we move forward, and will help to refine the Poverty Alliance's approach over the months and years ahead. To take part in the conference we would ask you to register for each session separably - we would encourage you to attend as many sessions as possible in order to take full advantage of the discussions. All of our discussions will be recorded and will be available after the conference.
Session 1: Poverty in a Pandemic: Our Experience
09.30 Introduction to the conference
Peter Kelly, Director, Poverty Alliance
09.40 Three community activists will talk about their experience and that of their communities in getting through the pandemic.
10:00 change of speakers
10.05 Keynote: Tackling Poverty in Scotland
Aileen Campbell MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Community and Local Government (invited)
Session 2: Poverty in a Pandemic: what we have learned
Our second session will look at issues of work, social security and communities in relation to poverty and the coronavirus pandemic. Each of the workshops will hear from expert speakers and will allow for time for questions from the participants. All workshops will be recorded, allowing you to view those that you couldn't attend. Please register for each of the workshops separately
11:00 – 12:15
Workshop 1: Paid work, poverty and coronavirus
This workshop will look at the interaction between paid employment, poverty and coronavirus. We will consider what the the experience tells us about the way our labour market is working, what we need to do to ensure that unemployment and low paid do not become further entrenched.
- Pheona Matovu, Director, Radiant and Brighter
- Laura Gardiner, Director, Living Wage Foundation
- Alex Warren, Director of Strategy, Wise Group
Chair: Jack Evans, Manager Living Wage Scotland
Workshop 2: Fit for Purpose? Social Security in the Pandemic
The weakness of the social security system has been clearly exposed by this pandemic. This workshop will discuss the reality of social security during the pandemic has been. We will look at what the responses tell us about how our social security should be changed and strengthened in the future, both in Scotland and in the UK.
- Dr Ruth Patrick, University of York/Covid Realities
- Russell Gunson, Director, IPPR Scotland
- Eilidh Dickson, Policy and Parliamentary Manager, Engender
Chair: John Dickie, Director, CPAG Scotland
Workshop 3: Communities and Coronavirus
Communities have come together during the coronavirus. We have seen compassion, kindness and solidarity shown between individuals and groups. However, the problems of poverty, inequality, discrimination and powerlessness remain in place. What have been some of the examples of the ways that communities have come together, and how can the community solidarity and compassion that was shown be built on and turned into action for change?
- Rami Ousta, CEO, BEMIS (invited)
- Jimmy Wilson, CEO, FARE Scotland
- Pippa Coutts, Policy & Development Manager, Carnegie UK Trust
Chair: Fiona Garven, Director, Scottish Community Development Centre
13:00 – 14:00 Round Table: Prospects for change
Our conference will end with a round table discussion on how we move forward during and after the pandemic. We have challenges that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis - poverty, racial injustice, low quality work, A discussion focused on what the likelihood and prospects for change may be in terms of tackling social injustice and poverty after the pandemic.
- Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive, Scottish Refugee Council
- Mary Senior, Vice President, Scottish Trade Union Congress
- Dr Katherine Trebeck, Advocacy Lead, Wellbeing Economy Alliance
- Dame Julia Unwin, Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Civil Society & member of the Scottish Government Council of Economic Advisors
14:00 Closing reflections and next steps
Peter Kelly, Director, the Poverty Alliance