The independent Edinburgh Poverty Commission is working to define the steps we need to take to end poverty in the city. Ahead of setting out actions in the Autumn, we have been listening to people and organisations in the city in recent weeks to hear about the profound impacts the pandemic is having on people living in poverty. We cannot hope to make a just transition from the crisis unless we understand the hardship and heartache people are facing now.
Our interim findings highlight fear and isolation alongside an upsurge of compassion for those affected directly and to keyworkers keeping essential support going. There is unprecedented government support offering a lifeline to many employers, charities and families but gaps and delays as well, leaving too many people struggling – like those in precarious hospitality and construction jobs and many of the self-employed. An extraordinary effort to house people who were sleeping rough and protect tenants from eviction sits alongside unanswered questions about long-term accommodation and debts. We are all facing the same storm, but we are in different boats.
It is right that we think boldly about how Edinburgh can weather this storm, generating the good jobs, affordable housing and income security that too many citizens have been locked out of. But the scale of the challenge for planning and long-term budgets needs to be recognised openly and honestly. Where a return to business as usual would see any gains from this crisis unravel, we must change the rules. We can redesign the city’s services and economy. Employers and housing providers must have as much of a stake as governments, councils and charities. In the coming weeks, we will continue to tune in to citizen experiences, seek out unheard views and develop solutions alongside communities.
The link to the report is now live here.
And a summary here
(Update provided by The Edinburgh Poverty Commission)