Candidates in May’s local elections are being urged to take a pledge to tackle poverty in their communities.
The pledge shows that candidates support the measures in a new manifesto, launched today (Thu 21) by the Poverty Alliance, including prioritising poverty as an issue, boosting incomes, improving local services, and strengthening communities.
Poverty Alliance director Peter Kelly said: “In a country full of compassion, poverty is rightly seen as an injustice. But it’s an injustice we can put right.
“In communities the length and breadth of Scotland – from Glasgow to Gretna and from Dornoch to Dumfries – people are finding it increasingly difficult to stay afloat. Unless every level of government meets its moral duty to protect people from poverty, the rising tide of poverty risks becoming a flood.
“May’s local authority elections come at a critical moment. People living on low incomes in Scotland need councillors and councils that will prioritise the actions that will stem the rising tide of poverty, and that will use local powers to strengthen and empower communities to take action themselves.”
The manifesto says that local economic development should be focused on creating high quality, secure jobs that pay at least the real Living Wage, as well as improving services – like childcare and transport – that low-income households disproportionately rely upon.
It calls on councils to make sure people know how to apply for help from the Scottish Welfare Fund, and that they guarantee same-day processing and payment of Crisis Grants – something which can be the difference between a visit to the supermarket, or a visit to the local foodbank.
It also says councillors should increase access to free school meals, ensure that childcare is flexible enough to meet the needs of low-income households, and work towards affordable, accessible, and publicly owned bus networks.