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Report reveals impact of Coronavirus on poverty in Edinburgh

Posted: 21st May 2020
The Capital’s leader has outlined the measures the Council will take following a report from the Edinburgh Poverty Commission into the impact the Covid-19 pandemic is having on residents in the city.

Poverty and Coronavirus in Edinburgh has taken testimonies from people directly affected by the pandemic focusing on areas such as jobs, people’s incomes, housing, homelessness, the cost of living, health and social isolation.

Leader Adam McVey pledged the Council will do everything it can to support those most in need and welcomed the report which will inform the future direction the Council takes in tackling poverty in the city.

He said:

“I welcome that this report recognises the work done by the Council, partners, third sector and volunteers across the city to respond positively and quickly to deliver lifeline services including vital food and medical supplies for citizens affected by the coronavirus measure that have been put in place.

“Today’s report contains important findings with vital and timely testimonies on the real impact that lockdown is having on people’s lives. While we have all been affected by the ongoing situation, it is clear from this report that this pandemic has been particularly challenging for those who were already in or at risk of poverty in the city.

“We’re absolutely committed to making sure this evidence shapes our continuing response to this emergency over the coming months, as well as the planning for how we will rebuild the city when this crisis has passed.

“It’s so important that while we look to address the additional hardship and pressures this crisis has brought, we also build on the renewed sense of community and collaboration we have witnessed across the city.

“As we plan for Edinburgh’s recovery, we will continue to be ambitious and make sure our responses are guided by our long-term commitment to boosting sustainability, tackling poverty and improving residents’ wellbeing.

“We will continue working with the Scottish and UK Governments to secure the right level of ongoing financial support to allow us to rebuild and create a fairer city for all going forward.”

In specific response to the actions the Commission has put forward the Council will:

  • continue to deliver compassionate support directly to people in the most need during this period of emergency – this includes support for essential food supplies and medicine deliveries to people self-isolating and offering critical support to people in vulnerable situations through our Resilience Centres
  • make sure the support mechanisms set up by UK and Scottish Governments reach everyone in Edinburgh who needs them – we’ve already processed over 4,600 applications for Scottish Welfare Fund support, distributed nearly £600,000 in crisis payments to citizens and directed £61m in government grants to organisations in Edinburgh to help employers and the self-employed
  • make sure safe and secure housing options continue to be available for those people in temporary accommodation and rough sleeping who have been housed through emergency measures during this crisis, and
  • make sure that the city takes a co-ordinated and joined up approach to responding to and recovering from this crisis.

In the coming weeks the Council will publish its first plans for how the city will adapt and rebuild from this crisis throughout the rest of this year and beyond. A key element of this recovery programme will be ensuring that the twin targets of being fair and green for all lie at its heart.

We will be encouraging our partners who are invested in the prosperity of the city work with us to achieve this fair and green economic recovery which will include the work of both the Edinburgh Poverty Commission and the Edinburgh Climate Commission.

The final report by the Edinburgh Poverty Commission and their findings will be published in the autumn.

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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