Martin Whitfield MSP has welcomed the Draft East Lothian Poverty Plan 2021-2023, which is currently out for consultation.
Developed for East Lothian Council by a working group including representatives from key council services, NHS Lothian and community and voluntary groups, the Draft Plan sets out objectives and actions that should be prioritised over the next two years.
Commenting, Martin Whitfield MSP said:
“East Lothian Council was only the third authority in Scotland to convene a poverty commission to explore ways of breaking the cycle of poverty. Since the publication of its final report in 2017, the council has made substantial progress in delivering on the commission’s original recommendations.
“However, as the draft poverty plan recognises, COVID-19 has reinforced existing inequality as well as driving more households into poverty. I believe the draft plan sets out ambitious but practical proposals for addressing this growing poverty over the next few years.
“I’m particularly pleased to see the inclusion of a commitment on East Lothian becoming a Living Wage area, new measures for tackling food poverty and insecurity and a drive to maximise benefit take-up. I also welcome the plan’s objective of increasing the number and range of affordable homes locally, the important emphasis on child poverty and its impact on educational attainment, and measures for reducing health inequalities.
“Overall, the plan presents a comprehensive way forward for the council and local partners on this vitally important issue. Now we need the Scottish Government to display the same level of commitment to tackling poverty to help ensure it can succeed here.”
The consultation on the Draft Plan can be found at https://eastlothianconsultations.co.uk/policy-partnerships/draft-poverty-plan-survey-2021. The consultation closes on 26th September.