News

Poverty and Inequality Commission chair

Published: 31 Jan 2019 10:24

Appointment to support work to reduce poverty.

Bill Scott will chair the new statutory Poverty and Inequality Commission, the body advising the Scottish Government on its aims to tackling and reducing poverty.

Replacing the existing non-statutory commission, which will continue to operate until 30 June, the new body will have a key role in advising ministers and reviewing progress in reducing poverty and inequality in Scotland.

Mr Scott has been a lifelong campaigner against poverty and inequality. For the last 11 years he has been at the forefront of Inclusion Scotland’s policy work on behalf of disabled people.  This has involved campaigns against the UK Government’s Welfare Reform Bill and the Bedroom Tax, and for new rights for disabled people claiming devolved benefits. 

Before formally taking up his role as Chair of the Commission on 1 July, Mr Scott will work to support the appointment of members. The new roles will open for application in March.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

“As a government we have ambitious targets to reduce child poverty in Scotland. I am delighted that Bill Scott is our new Commission chair. His appointment will help ensure strong scrutiny and independent advice is in place to support us on these targets as well as advising the government on tackling deep seated poverty and inequality.

“I know Bill shares my passion for building a fairer and more prosperous Scotland for all and I look forward to working with him and the new Poverty and Inequality Commissioners to achieve that goal.”

Commenting on his new role, Mr Scott said:

“As I see it, my key task over the next few months will be to bring together the right blend of knowledge, expertise and experience that can assist the Government in achieving their ambition of reducing child poverty.

“Over the years I’ve met many people living in poverty who could make a huge contribution to the Commission’s thinking.   I want to make sure that their voices are right at the heart of the Commission’s work and dearly hope that they will come forward when we are recruiting.”

Background

Appointments to the Poverty and Inequality Commission are regulated by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life Scotland and subject to additional Parliamentary scrutiny. Mr Scott was recommended for appointment by the Social Security Committee on 20 December 2018 and approved by the Scottish Parliament on 17 January 2019.

The Poverty and Inequality Commission will be formally set up from July 2019 as a new public body, as required by the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017.  It will replace the non-statutory Commission, launched in July 2017 by the First Minister and chaired by Douglas Hamilton.

The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act sets out tasks that the Commission must take on.  Beyond this, the Commission can set its own work programme in discussion with ministers and can gather evidence, commission research and prepare reports. 

The Commission will have a key role to play in:

  • Advising ministers on measures they propose to include in delivery plans to reduce child poverty
  • Commenting on progress made towards the child poverty targets set out in the Act, whether progress is sufficient and what further progress is required
  • Advising ministers on matters relating to poverty or inequality, including the impact of policies and use of resources in reducing poverty and inequality
  • Monitoring progress in reducing poverty and inequality and promoting the reduction of poverty and inequality in Scotland