Friday, 9 May 2014

Tackling the Costs of Being Poor

“I think it’s ridiculous that 2014 people are having to either heat or eat”.
 Marie, Commissioner with the Poverty Truth Commission

We agree with you Marie, it is ridiculous. Yet, this is the stark reality for many across the UK today.
Welfare cuts, zero hour contracts, unscrupulous pay day lenders, a minimum wage not adequate to live on, rising food and fuel prices…. The list goes on and on.
Yet those on the receiving end of these issues which are out with their control, are punished even further through the extra costs they have to pay due to living in poverty.

The Commission
Marie is a commissioner with the Poverty Truth Commission and is part of a working group looking at these Costs of Being Poor. This group, drawn together by the Commission, brings together individuals with experience of poverty as well as leading figures from a range of organisations including the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the NHS, The Big Lottery Fund and the Scottish Government civil service.

Work of the Group
The aim of the group is to use the experience of experts with the power and knowledge of those in influential positions to provide real solutions to some of the barriers faced by those in poverty.

The Costs of Being Poor are also referred to as the poverty penalty or the poverty premium and are the hidden charges people on low incomes often face . The group has identified several key areas, grouped under two headings: fuel poverty and financial inclusion.

The group initially gathered a better understanding of the issue by listening to the experts - those with experience of having to go cold due to insufficient incomes. Those who have had to go hungry so their children do not go without. Those who have had a healthy and nutritious diet denied them due to the unaffordability and inaccessibility of fresh fruit and veg.

Working as a team on a completely level platform, the group then identified key agencies in Glasgow, including the local authority and housing providers, who could make a significant impact on the extra costs they face. The group has then started a dialogue with groups, aiming to ensure those with experience of poverty will have their voices. Only then will real and sustainable changes be made to the lives of those on low incomes.

Turning Up the Volume on Poverty
Using a mixture of drama and presentation, the group will showcase its work at the Woodside Halls, Glasgow on Saturday 21, June as the Commission Turns Up the Volume on Poverty.

Tackling the Costs of Being Poor, however, is just one strand of the work of the Commission as it brings together those with experience of poverty and influential decision makers.

If you are motivated by a desire to tackle the injustices in our society, through a collaborative and participatory model then come along to hear our work as we Turn Up the Volume on Poverty.

To register at this free event click here; call 0141 248 2911; or email #TurnItUp2014

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