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Home  >  News  >  Call for Help With School and Food Costs

News

Call for Help With School and Food Costs

Tuesday March 1

Scotland’s Poverty Truth Commission has called for more help with the ‘hidden costs’ of schooling and ‘empowering and sustainable answers’ to food poverty.

In its latest report, released yesterday, the Commission also calls for organisations working with people in poverty to listen to their experiences, to promote dignity and to ‘challenge negative culture’.

The report, entitled ‘#namesnotnumbers’, is the third since the Poverty Truth Commission was first formed in 2009. The commission brings together influential and strategic thinkers with people actually living in poverty. It is an initiative of Faith in Community Scotland and has been supported by the Church of Scotland since its inception.

The third round of the commission met from 2014 and included representatives of the Scottish Government, refugees, academics, school leavers, politicians, carers, faith communities, community activists, Glasgow City Council, volunteers and the Scottish Prison Service.

They concentrated on three themes: The Cost of School, Food Poverty, and Dignity and the Power of Stories. The report includes not only notes and recommendations but the stories of people struggling with poverty.

The school section notes the difficulties facing parents in providing not only a uniform but bags and shoes, with the additional social pressure on children and teenagers not to be seen in cheap clothes. It recommends a higher School Clothing Grant (and for people with experience of poverty to be involved in setting the new level), for schools and local authorities to take affordability into account in school uniform policies, and for the dignity of young people to be a focus.

On food poverty, the report describes it as ‘a scandal’ that food banks and emergency food aid are necessary in ‘modern, wealthy Scotland’. It calls for a ‘food justice movement led by people with direct experience of poverty’ and recognition for ‘the social value of food’.

The final section, Dignity and the Power of Stories, focuses on experiences of the Job Centre, Borders Agency and other services which are ‘too often exhausting, distressing and completely lacking in dignity’. It adds: “We believe in the need to change cultures, changing from enforcement, punishment and suspicion to assistance, support and belief.”

The report also calls for the involvement of people with direct experience of poverty ‘to be embedded across all local and national government strategies and working groups’ and for authorities to provide evidence of how they have listened to people in poverty when formulating their policies.

You can download the #namesnotnumbers report and further resources from the Faith in Community website.


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