Reducing poverty and inequality

Edinburgh Poverty Commission

The Edinburgh Poverty Commission was launched in November 2018. The commission is made up of 12 members who will aim to

  • understand what drives 1 in 5 families in Edinburgh into poverty
  • listen and learn from citizens who are struggling to get by
  • build on what works well, but challenge ourselves to do better
  • design the changes we can deliver as a city.

Get involved

We would love to hear your views and experiences of poverty in Edinburgh and what is needed to reduce and prevent it. Over the course of the year we will be announcing ways for residents and communities to provide input into the work of the commission. 

In the meantime you can join the conversation and share your thoughts on Twitter using #edinpovertycommission or submit your thoughts and ideas to us directly

After each meeting the commission will report its draft findings and recommendations. 


The commission will report its findings in autumn 2019 after meetings which will consider evidence of lived experience. The commission will meet four times during 2019 on

  • 28 February 
  • 21 May
  • 26 September
  • 26 November. 

The Commission's meetings will focus on the headline topics of pocket, prospects and places and look to understand the following:

Pockets - 28 February

Social security, work and low pay, affordable credit, advice and information.

  • What are the factors that trap peope in Edinburgh in low income, and how do they impact on people's lives and wellbeing?
  • What essential things cost too much for people in Edinburgh on low incomes?
  • Evidence of what has been successful in helping people increase incomes or reduce their living costs?
  • What more can the city do to address these issues?

Prospects - 21 May

Health and wellbeing, education, skills, labour market changes, career progression, City Region Deal.

  • How does living on a low income affect the health and wellbeing of people in Edinburgh?
  • How does poverty affect the ability of children in Edinburgh to have a good start in life?
  • What are the barriers that make it difficult for people in poverty to get a job, work more hours, or progress to better paid jobs?
  • What has been successful, and what more can the city do to address these issues?

Places - 26 September

Housing, transport, community and neighbourhood services, inequality of experience.

  • What are the biggest challenges to securing and sustaining an affordable home in Edinburgh?
  • How does the cost and availability of transport in Edinburgh affect people's ability to work, study or access essential services?
  • How does the fact of inequality between places in Edinburgh affect the ability of communities to work together to improve their areas?
  • What has been successful and what more can the city do to address these issues?

Design the Future - 26 November


Jim McCormick, Associate Director for Scotland with Joseph Rowntree Foundation, independently chairs the commission, which is made up of 12 people with a range of skills and experience. The members include

  • Jim McCormick, Joseph Rowntree Foundation - chair

  • Councillor Cammy Day, City of Edinburgh Council - vice chair
  • Celia Tennant, Inspiring Scotland                              
  • Zoe Ferguson, Carnegie Associate (Kindness) and Edinburgh citizen                 
  • Craig Sanderson, Link Housing Association          
  • Betty Stevenson, Edinburgh citizen                        
  • Chris Kilkenny, Edinburgh citizen                           
  • Stephen Kelly, Liberton High School                       
  • Diane Noel Paton, Thistle Foundation                   
  • Mary Alexander, Unite the Union                                
  • Sandy MacDonald, Standard Life                             
  • Carol Tannahill, Glasgow Centre for Public Health.

Read about the launch of the commission in our news centre.

Read our blog post on poverty in Edinburgh.

Download a report on poverty in Edinburgh (PDF, 914 KB)

Download a report on the Commission's Phase 1 Emerging Findings (May 2018)

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