Monday 5 October 2020

Join the ATUC and raise your voice against poverty in the world’s sixth richest country

#ChallengePoverty This is Challenge Poverty Week. Aberdeen Trades Union Council is raising our voice against poverty in the sixth richest country in the world. The money is there – it’s just in the wrong hands.

The key messages of Challenge Poverty Week are:

 ·       Too many people in Scotland are living with the constant pressure of living in poverty.

·       As we plan our economic recovery, we must redesign our economy to reflect the values of justice and compassion we all share.

·       By boosting people’s incomes and reducing the cost of living we can solve poverty.

They have also highlighted the importance of affordable and accessible public services – especially council services - critically important to the poorest in our society to ensure opportunities for families and children.

We all want to do right by each other. And yet, we live in a society where one in five people live with the constant pressure of living in poverty. And in the North East of Scotland almost one in six of our children live below the poverty line. Across Scotland it is one in four of our children and 65% of these children live in a household where one or both parents are in work.

Even before the pandemic, poverty was already too high and rising. However, these last few months have created a storm, the likes of which we’ve never seen before. It has caused exceptional damage to people’s livelihoods, income and wellbeing - and is pulling even more families under.

Please read on to find out what you can do....

ATUC has continued to warn that we were not “all in this together”. Whilst public services have been cut to the bone, and food banks are on the rise, alongside child poverty, zero hours contracts and insecure labour, the wealthiest in our society have amassed more wealth and paid fewer taxes.

Research by the Equalities Trust has shown that the 1,000 richest people in the UK in 2018 had a total wealth of £724bn, an increase of £274bn in five years.

Scotland is not immune. Government figures from 2015-2018 show that income inequality in this country is also growing, with the top 10% of the population earning more than the bottom 40% combined.

The early signs are that people are struggling to keep their heads above water during this crisis, and they are being swept up in the ever-rising tide of poverty. Families are having to cut back on essentials, such as food or electricity and are having to borrow money to survive.

But the current crisis also provides the potential for change and the chance to redesign our economy to reflect the values of justice and compassion we all share. By boosting people’s income, properly funding public services and reducing the costs of living, we all have a part to play in making sure that we all have what we need.

ATUC has written to our MPs and MSPs calling on them to act now to end poverty across Scotland and the UK.

A number of local organisations such as ACVO and Aberdeenshire Council have joined Challenge Poverty Week. ACVO has set out some things YOU can do to #ChallengePoverty

  • Write a letter to your political representatives – or download these template letters, edit and personalise them. Then post or email your plea to your local MSPs and MP. The more that elected representatives hear about our belief in the need to solve poverty the better!  You can find your local MSPs here  and your local MP here.

 Check out the UNISON Scotland site for more resources.