Ambitious priorities set out to tackle poverty in Aberdeen

Councillors today agreed to an anti-poverty strategy to create a “fairer Aberdeen that prospers for all.”

Aberdeen City Council’s Finance, Policy and Resources committee accepted a report which proposed 10 priorities to aid those who are disadvantaged in the city through developing training and employment opportunities, advice and support for those affected by welfare reform and reducing both food and fuel poverty.

Additional priorities include increasingly the supply of social and affordable housing, closing the educational gap, developing a flexible childcare service which meets the needs of those on low incomes and to remove financial barriers that may prevent pupil participation.

Aberdeen City Council Finance, Policy Resources Convener Councillor Willie Young said: “By agreeing these priorities today, we are setting in motion a plan of action to create real equality in Aberdeen.

“This is a very ambitious set of priorities which supports the objectives of Aberdeen’s Local Outcome Improvement Plan and will be delivered in partnership with all of the city’s major stakeholders.

“The ultimate expression of this report is our commitment to investing in our children and to offering opportunities for adults who are able to work to develop their skills. It is unacceptable that due to a lack of income, families can be dragged into a cycle of deprivation that is repeated generation after generation.

“But we also need to provide the right environment for familliies to prosper and this makes the provision of affordable housing a key priority in the success of these ambitions.

“By ensuring that all people in Aberdeen have the opportunity to prosper, no matter their social circumstances, we can help prevent a series of intractable problems for the future.”

Failure to address poverty and disadvantage comes at a cost for public services, the Joseph Rowantree Foundation estimate this as £78billion across the U.K.

In Aberdeen, an estimated 18% of children are living in poverty and are unevenly distributed across the city’s wards – ranging from low of 6% to a high of 29%.

It is believed that 29% of households in Aberdeen are in fuel poverty and 9% are in extreme fuel poverty.

The strategy agreed today aims to address these trends through the Community Planning Partnership and officers will now prepare a corporate framework to oversee the governance, performance and management for tackling poverty and inequalities in line with partners.