Fair Fife set up to deal with poverty

Fairer Fife has been set up to tackle the issues of poverty
Fairer Fife has been set up to tackle the issues of poverty

An independent organisation will be given 12 months to seek to find ways of tackling poverty and dealing with its causes.

Councillors last week agreed to establish the Fairer Fife Commission – an idea brought forward by Fife Council’s Labour administration – and the Council’s chief executive Steve Grimmond has been given the responsibility of appointing an independent chairman.

The commission will be asked to consider existing published evidence, and invited evidence from a range of people across Fife and beyond, including those with first-hand experience of working with those in poverty, and those who have experienced poverty themselves.

Robert McGregor, sustainable communities manager, said: “The commission will consider evidence of what has worked in Fife and elsewhere to reduce the causes and impact of poverty. Key focus areas are likely to include financial capability, welfare advice, transport links, employability skills, childcare provision, early years, educational attainment, health inequalities, housing and homelessness and addressing stigma.”

The commission is expected to meet for the first time in December and will be set a strict timescale, with its final report due by November 2015.

Council leader David Ross pointed out a lot of work was already being done to tackle poverty – creating apprenticeships, building houses and improving education all have an impact – but it still remained a real problem.

He said Council staff were doing what they could to tackle poverty, and setting up the commission was about “doubling our efforts”.