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Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality: Shifting the curve - a report for the First Minister

Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality: Shifting the curve - a report for the First Minister

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

ISBN: 9781785448850

Report from Naomi Eisenstadt, Independent Advisor on Poverty and Inequality, informed by research evidence and views from stakeholders across Scotland, including people with experience of living on a low income. The report outlines the actions Scottish Government (and others) could take to significantly reduce the numbers of people living in poverty in Scotland.

Executive Summary

Makes 15 recommendations for how the Scottish Government (and others) could significantly reduce the numbers of people living in poverty in Scotland:

In-work poverty

1. Build on Living Wage Accreditation – a focus on larger employers, and on incentives, would be useful

2. Encourage pay ratio disclosure as a way of tackling pay inequality

3. Ensure childcare commitments focus on quality to improve outcomes, and consider providing a limited number of free hours of childcare for primary school aged children

4. Make family flexible working more explicit within the Business Pledge, and consider whether approaches such as the Timewise programme could promote flexible working in Scotland

5. Do more to ensure that people claim the benefits they are entitled to

6. Make effective use of new social security powers but proceed with caution

Housing affordability

7. Build more social housing

8. Ensure fuel poverty programmes are focused to support those on low incomes,and do more to tackle the poverty premium in home energy costs

9. Be bold on local tax reform

Life chances of young people, aged 16-24

10. Carry out a comprehensive review of the policies and services relevant to the life chances of older children and young adults, with particular emphasis on young people from poorer backgrounds

11. Reduce the number of government-supported employment programmes targeting this group of young people and simplify the landscape, to provide a clearer, sharper focus

12. Ensure that the new approach to employer engagement in education is having an impact on improving skills for work of young people

13. Do more to tackle occupational segregation

Cross-cutting

14. Ensure that public service delivery is respectful, person-centred and preserves the dignity of people in poverty: pre-employment and in-service training should include the importance of avoiding stigma and developing understanding of the challenges of living on a very low income

15. Commence the socio-economic duty in the Equality Act 2010, when powers are available to do so