Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Challenging Inverclyde Poverty Group

During the COVID 19 lockdownthe people of Inverclyde have performed many good deeds across our communities to assist, supportencourage and motivate people at this difficult and uncertain time. 

 

Once again, this highlights the kind, just and caring community that Inverclyde is, and shows what is possible when community / voluntary groups and businesses come together alongside local and national government. 

 

In the coming days and weeks, we will hear conversations and sound bites about easing the lockdown and what this will look like.


The Challenging Inverclyde Poverty Group would like this community unity and spirit to carry on beyond lockdown, to ensure we continue to assist:


  • Our people who have been and continue to be impacted by poverty  
  • Our people, whoas a result of COVID 19 events now find themselves experiencing financial hardship  
    1. finding it difficult to make ends meetliving costs are rising and their income is falling  
    2. mental health has dipped, they are struggling, anxious, and have low mood and fear of the unknown and what lies ahead  

Post lockdown, it is vital that we do everything possible to assist people to reduce financial problems and in turn this should reduce stress and anxiety.

 

We ask that this takes place, when many of the services and supports that assist people have also been impacted by COVID 19 and may be overwhelmed, cease to operate / operate differently.


Initially, whatever we do, will need to be quick and in abundance to assist people in the short term. And, all the while we need to discuss and explore what is required in the medium to long term to ensure that no one is left behind (due to lack of opportunity or circumstances), and all our people are protected from any increased risk and harm.


  • Joseph Rowntree Foundation – 5-point plan to solve poverty 
  • Boost incomes and reduce costs 
  • Deliver an effective benefit system  
  • Improve education standards and raise skills 
  • Strengthen families and communities 
  • Promote long-term economic growth benefiting everyone 

 

Together we can solve poverty, and:  

  • Get the local community on board to influence policy makers to narrow the gap between the richest and the poorest  

  • Support communities to create and implement locally led solutions and build pressure for change 

  • Campaign and use Your Voice to influence local, national and the UK Government decision makers to create policy that helps tackle economic inequality and focus on reducing poverty 

 

The tables below contain thoughts and suggestions from local people and organisations including Oxfam Scotland and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation that may assist the above, we would very much appreciate your thoughts:


  1. Do you agree disagree with the suggestions put forward? 
  2. What’s missing? 
  3. What are your thoughts / suggestions on what is needed / important to assist people in our community to overcome poverty and the social and economic impact of COVID 19 in the short / medium / long term? 

Short Term 

Continue many of the practical supports available whilst in lockdown e.g. isolation calls, food boxes, delivery services  

Access to Universal Credit within 7 – 10 days 

Ensure that the most vulnerable people in our community know what is available / where to assist  

Stop Sanctions 

Increase welfare assistance schemes funding to help people affected by Covid-19 

Suspend debt deductions from benefit payments 

Ensure that work coaches are flexible on work search etc., so that claimants feel that these are reasonable and manageable 

More money for families who receive free school meals to meet the additional food costs while children are out of school 

Assistance for people who are struggling to pay bills / at risk of getting into debt 

Enable low-income and at-risk consumers to get the best deals from providers 

Extend statutory sick pay to low earners 

 

 

Medium Term 

Introduce Basic Income 

Raise protect family incomes so they can afford essentials, reduce stress, and give children the opportunity to participate socially and educationally 

Enabling young people leaving care to  

maximise their potentialproper support around housing, employment, and training 

Support parents & families - share care, access work & flexible and affordable childcare for parents on low incomes 

Provide and assist homeless people with secure, long-term tenancy, include support on how to maintain tenancy 

Create more jobs offering at least a Living Wage, with greater job security and opportunities for progression 

Increase access to and funding for mental health services 

 

 

 

Long Term 

Introduce Basic Income 

All children (including those from low-income backgrounds) succeed in school, leave school with the support, advice, skills to move successfully into education, training, or the labour market and towards independence 

Boosting the supply of genuinely affordable housing 

Responsible business practices - better customer service 

Reducing energy demand through efficiency programmes 

Create more jobs offering at least a Living Wage, with greater job security and opportunities for progression 

 

Food for thought? 


 

 

 

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