Helping communities recover from the pandemic
A report that calls for tackling poverty and inequality to be central to the recovery from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been welcomed by the Scottish Government.
Today’s initial response to the Social Renewal Advisory Board’s report ‘If not now, when?’ outlines work already underway in areas such as housing, fair work, supporting parents and young people into employment, and investing in our communities.
Investment of £25 million will help take forward a number of actions informed by the Board. This includes £13.5 million to help the Third Sector recover from the impact of the pandemic and build on the support given to communities, as well as a further £6.7 million to tackle fuel insecurity.
The response makes clear that, subject to the outcome of the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary elections, the Scottish Government intends to take forward a range of recommendations to build a fairer, more equal country.
Equalities Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:
“We have acted quickly to support people and communities during the coronavirus pandemic and we know that further substantive action can be taken. The Social Renewal Advisory Board report offers a route map to address structural inequalities.
“Work which is planned to be taken forward includes initiating a full review of the Scottish Welfare Fund, increasing work to automate benefit entitlements, and investigating the possibility of a Minimum Income Guarantee.
“We have also written to the UK Government to highlight where they must take action, or devolve powers in response to the recommendations, including in employment, reserved social security, and migrants’ rights.
“We are determined to ensure that as we rebuild post-pandemic we do so with equality and social justice at the heart.”
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:
“Our response also highlights new commitments to delivering 100,000 more affordable homes by 2032, increasing parental employment support, and increasing the world-leading Connecting Scotland programme to now reach 60,000 people and get them online by the end of this year.
“We have already invested £1 billion over the course of the pandemic to support our communities and I am pleased we will now invest an additional £25 million to help take forward actions informed by the Board. This includes £13.5 million to help the Third Sector and a further £6.7 million to tackle fuel insecurity.”
The Scottish Government response recognises there is insufficient time remaining in this parliamentary term to take forward the recommended actions and that will be for incoming administration. It indicates what steps will be taken depending on the outcome of the election.