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Challenge Poverty Week 2021


By David G Scott

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Each year, hundreds of organisations across Scotland support Challenge Poverty Week (CPW). The 2021 campaign runs from October 4-10 and aims to build awareness of the solutions to poverty and help end the stigma of living on a low income.

In support of the campaign, Highland Council leader, Cllr Margaret Davidson, said: “Across the country poverty is increasing for the first time in two decades. Too many households were already experiencing hardship, or close to it, but the pandemic has pushed some into financial insecurities and, on occasions, mental and physical ill-health for the first time

Low wages, inadequate social security payments, and the rising cost of living are holding people back.
Low wages, inadequate social security payments, and the rising cost of living are holding people back.

“For many, their situation has worsened through job losses, pay reductions, the inability to fully pay their bills, greater borrowing and difficulty with meeting basic daily living costs. This affects us here in Highland where we already have higher than national average rates of fuel poverty.”

“These factors are set to be exacerbated further as we once again move towards the winter months when the impact of the recent increase to the energy price cap will become evident and place additional pressures on household finances for many across Highland.”

“We must also be mindful that the temporary £20 increase to universal credit payments – which was introduced to support those on low incomes during the pandemic – is being withdrawn today and will see many individuals and families in Highland suffer a drastic drop in their income.”

Throughout CPW, the council will use social media to highlight support that can be provided by its Welfare Support Team and other organisations.

Cllr Davidson added: "People can ask for advice and information services from the council’s Welfare Support Team and the local Citizen’s Advice Bureaux. Welfare advisers can help to identify all entitlements due and support clients to take-up their full entitlements. We know that customers receiving this support often express the relief they feel, and the positive impacts on their wellbeing."

The Poverty Alliance which organises CPW reminds us that one in five people in Scotland today are living with the constant pressure of trying to get by on an insufficient income. Low wages, inadequate social security payments, and the rising cost of living are holding people back. Their aim is for the economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis to involve redesigning the economy to boost people’s incomes, reduce the cost of living, and create green jobs that help people and the planet.

Related story:

Online survey aims to improve energy efficiency and tackle fuel poverty in Caithness


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