Edinburgh becomes the first city to set end poverty date

Edinburgh skyline

The City of Edinburgh Council has set an ambitious target aiming to eradicate poverty in the Capital by 2030.

  • City of Edinburgh Council accepts challenge from Edinburgh Poverty Commission to end poverty in Edinburgh by 2030
  • Follows publication of final Commission report last week which outlined seven areas of action needed to eliminate poverty in the Capital
  • Council commits to working with citizen action group, End Poverty Edinburgh, and other partners to make the pledge a reality within the next decade

The bold pledge comes after the Edinburgh Poverty Commission published its final report, A Just Capital: Actions to End Poverty in Edinburgh, last week and received great support at the Council’s Policy and Sustainability Committee today (Tuesday 6 October). This sees the city taking a Team Edinburgh approach with other partners and organisations to become the first UK local authority to commit to ending poverty by a specific date.

The aim of ending poverty in Edinburgh by 2030 is as defined by the four targets set by the Commission:

  • no-one in Edinburgh needs to go without basic essentials they need to eat, keep clean, stay warm and dry
  • fewer than one in ten people are living in relative poverty in Edinburgh at any given time
  • no-one in Edinburgh lives in persistent poverty
  • no-one in Edinburgh experiences stigma due to their income

In the report the Commission called on the Council, employers, public sector and third sector agencies across the city, to come together to challenge poverty within Edinburgh by providing:

  • The right support in the places people work and live
  • Fair work that provides dignity and security
  • A decent home people can afford to live in
  • Income security that provides a real safety net
  • Opportunities that drive justice and boost prospects
  • Connections in a city that belongs to its citizens, and
  • Equality in health and wellbeing

The committee also agreed to work closely with End Poverty Edinburgh to implement the recommendations. The group - made up of residents with first-hand experience of living on a low income and civic allies drawn from business, public services and the third sector – has taken up the reins from the Edinburgh Poverty Commission and will work with organisations to change the reality of poverty across the city.

Adam McVey, Council Leader, said:

“Tackling poverty in Edinburgh is one of our key priorities as a Council – enabling everyone in our City to take advantage of everything the Capital has to offer. We have already made significant resources available for people and are working hard to eradicate poverty in our city. Now we’re doubling down, taking on the research and recommendations from the Commission to guide us as we work towards our goal of ending poverty in the Capital within the next 10 years.

“One of the most powerful elements of the work done by the Commission was hearing and responding to the voices of those who have lived experience of poverty in Edinburgh. Our first priority will be to meet and agree ways of working with the new group End Poverty Edinburgh to ensure that their views can continue to shape the way we implement the Commission’s findings.

“We know that this will not be an easy task, but Edinburgh is a city of wealth and enormous talent and we’re determined to work with the Scottish and UK Governments, citywide partners– and of course, our residents - to drive the change that is so greatly needed.”

Cammy Day, Depute Council Leader and Depute Chair of the Edinburgh Poverty Commission, said:

“We’re in no doubt that this is an ambitious target and it is one that we need the whole city to embrace as well as support from Scottish and UK Governments to achieve. Poverty can impact any one of us at any time, and we need to take a Team Edinburgh approach to tackle it, where organisations, communities and residents work together to end poverty in Edinburgh by 2030. We welcome the opportunity to work in collaboration with others, such as the Edinburgh Partnership and relevant organisations in the public, private and third sectors, to make this happen.

“We know that, while the pandemic has certainly escalated the situation, this is a crisis that requires urgent attention and I’m heartened by the endorsement that the Commission’s report received today.

“Again, I would like to thank all of those in the Edinburgh Poverty Commission and End Poverty Edinburgh, as well as every person who took the time to give us their thoughts or tell us their own stories, for the incredible work that has been done to date.”


Published: October 7th 2020