Scots in poverty urged to join new panel being set up to tackle issue

People in poverty are being urged to apply to become members of a new panel focused on the issue.

Bill Scott of disability pressure group Inclusion Scotland has been appointed as head of the new statutory Poverty and Inequality Commission, which will replace the existing non-statutory body on July 1.

The new commission will advise ministers on cutting poverty and inequality across Scotland and review progress on the Scottish Government’s target to reduce the number of children living in persistent poverty to 5% by 2030.

Around one in four children in Scotland currently live in poverty, according to Child Poverty Action Group statistics released last year.

Mr Scott said: “As I see it, my key task over the next few months will be to bring together the right blend of knowledge, expertise and experience that can assist the Government in achieving their ambition of reducing child poverty.

“Over the years I’ve met many people living in poverty who could make a huge contribution to the commission’s thinking.

“I want to make sure that their voices are right at the heart of the commission’s work and dearly hope that they will come forward when we are recruiting.”

Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, echoed this call.

He said: “It’s hugely welcome that from this summer Scotland’s Poverty and Inequality Commission will have legal status to independently scrutinise progress on tackling growing levels of poverty and inequality in Scotland.

“If the commission is to be a powerful advocate for stretching new action, it is crucial that people who know what it means to struggle to pay the bills or put food on the table are at its heart.”

Applications for members will open in March.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell praised Mr Scott’s appointment, adding: “I know Bill shares my passion for building a fairer and more prosperous Scotland for all and I look forward to working with him and the new Poverty and Inequality Commissioners to achieve that goal.”

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Andrew Milligan / PA Wire.