The Accounts Commission is interested in measures to assist local government to address inequalities and particularly child poverty.

As the independent body that holds councils and other local government bodies in Scotland to account, the Accounts Commission has a strong interest in the contribution local government makes to lessening the impact of inequalities, particularly poverty, on different communities. We therefore note that this is aligned with the ambitions of the minimum income guarantee (MIG) to ‘reduce poverty, inequality and insecurity’. As the steering group shapes the MIG for Scotland, the Commission encourages the group to consider: • Intelligence from local government bodies and their third and voluntary sector partners on their experiences of supporting their most vulnerable citizens, and the most beneficial and impactful ways to do this. • The role local government bodies might play in supporting the delivery of a MIG, beyond additional social security payments. • Any additional local government-based infrastructure, training and personnel required to deliver the service. • Any impact a MIG could have on the effective delivery of other local government services such as benefit services, education and social care. • Evidence from the Poverty and Inequality Commission, Poverty Commissioners and citizens affected by poverty.

Why the contribution is important

The causes and consequences of poverty are complex. The additional support proposed in the MIG are important. But from our reporting on individual councils and across key services, the deep-rooted causes of often generational poverty and ill-health, as well as drug and alcohol abuse, are complex and these need to be addressed alongside the support proposed in the MIG. The Accounts Commission has been clear that communities must work alongside councils to design and implement policies. To help ensure the MIG delivers the right help and support to those that need it most, communities, alongside relevant third sector organisations, must be involved from the outset. In our twice-yearly Local government overview reports, we have been clear about the increased pressure and demands on local councils. The impact of implementing and delivering the ambitions of the MIG on council resources must be a key consideration. Covid-19 has laid bare and exacerbated existing inequalities such as health, work, income, housing and education across Scotland’s communities. The multiple impacts of these inequalities have affected the most vulnerable, minority groups and women. Delivering an effective and efficient system that supports the most vulnerable, whilst focusing on prevention, will be essential to ensure future social justice.

by AccountsCommission on September 16, 2021 at 08:09PM

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