Challenge Poverty

What is poverty?  Our Vision  What help is available?  Child Poverty  Find a food bank  Useful contacts  Useful information

What is Poverty?

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation defines poverty as "When a person’s resources (mainly their material resources) are not sufficient to meet their minimum needs (including social participation)."

However poverty is not just about household income, it is also about the cost of living.  For example if you live in a remote or island location you might be paying more for your food, fuel, child care and transport.  If you are disabled or have a disabled child, the amount you need to meet your essential requirements might be higher. This why challenging poverty must look both at improving income and the cost of living; it is something that the council, the health board, the education department, third sector partners and the community must all be involved in.   

Poverty is not the fault of those experiencing it and employment is not a guarantee against poverty. The vast majority of children in poverty live in a household where at least one adult is in paid employment.

Our Vision

We want an Argyll and Bute where no-one lives in poverty. Everyone should be able to achieve their potential and feel healthy, happy and valued. We want to be a place where everyone understands that tackling poverty is a shared responsibility. We believe that if we act locally, and in partnership, we can make a difference.

What help is available?

Money Advice

In 2019-20, Argyll and Bute Council together with our partners The Citizens Advice Bureau, Bute Advice, ACHA and Money Skills Argyll, secured over £6.6 million for local people through income maximisation and money advice services. This money supported local families and was spent in the local economy, helping our businesses.

If you would like advice on any aspect of money management or debt, visit

Education Benefits

We want to make it easier for people to get education benefits for their children. By matching information held on our council’s benefit system to that held in our education system, we have automated some payments of school clothing grants and free school meals. Together we are doing as much as we can to combat child poverty.

With the automation in 2019/2020 the Council paid £167,200 to citizens eligible for School Clothing Grants which is up from £145,350 the previous year which represents a 15% in the level of support delivered. In addition the number of free school meals provided by the Council increased by 164,000 to 1.14 million in 2019/2020 from the previous year.

For more on the qualifying criteria and ways to claim the support check

Domestic Abuse

Domestic violence and abuse can be a driver of poverty vulnerability for partners fleeing abuse. More than two-thirds of survivors of domestic abuse have reported their partners withheld money from them as a key method of controlling and mistreating them, according to the Women’s Aid report, The Economics of Abuse. In Argyll and Bute work is going on to help women to access financial advice and affordable housing, before and after they have fled domestic abuse. 

We are one of the 12 local authorities in Scotland who have signed the Make a Stand pledge. Information on how we can help if you are suffering from abuse can be found at

Fuel Poverty

44% of Argyll and Bute’s population spends more than 10% of their income to heat and light their homes. ALIenergy, a registered charity, helps people facing fuel poverty in a number of ways including: working in foodbanks helping those who are faced with choosing between eating and heating; working with volunteers, front-line staff and practitioners to recognise signs of fuel poverty; supporting people with the transition to digital, including online tariff comparisons and online Warm Home Discount applications; and providing a face to face service in people’s homes to help them make positive changes in their energy behaviours.

Workers engage with around 500 householders per year and savings can range from in the £100s, where clients have made small changes at home, up to £1000s. For information or advice call 01631 565 183, or email

The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017

The Scottish Government introduced the Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 to ensure Scotland is the best place in the world to grow up.  They felt that eradicating child poverty was vital because it can undermine the health, wellbeing and educational attainment of the children who experience it.  This act not only placed responsibility with the Government itself but also a duty on local authorities and health boards to report annually on activity they are taking, and will take, to reduce child poverty.  This was to be done by producing a local Child Poverty Action Plan by 30/06/2019 that was to be reviewed and updated annually until 2030.

In their guidance to local Councils and Health Boards, the Scottish Government asked them to consider how they could meet the following targets by 2030:

  • Less than 10% of children are in relative poverty
  • Less than 5% of children are in absolute poverty
  • Less than 5% of children are in combined low income and material deprivation
  • Less than 5% of children are in persistent poverty


 They were asked to do this by looking at what actions they were taking doing, or could take, under the three “Drivers” of poverty:

 Drivers of poverty

Other actions could be included under the headings of improving quality of life.  Councils and Health Boards were also asked to give particular thought to certain key groups: lone parents; families where a member of the household is disabled; families with 3 or more children; minority ethnic families; families where the youngest child is under 1 and mothers aged under 25. 

Action on Child Poverty

Argyll and Bute Council and the Highland Health Board; after consulting with children and young people in our schools, produced a Child Poverty Action Plan which was approved and published in June 2019. You can find additional information about the plan here.

Find out what Public Health Scotland are doing for child poverty.

Argyll and Bute Child Poverty Action Plan Review 2019-20

Useful Contacts

Social Security Scotland

If you are a Social Security Scotland client and would like to speak to a helpline advisor to get information on benefits, please call 0800 182 2222.

If you are a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can contact us via our national BSL video relay service Contact Scotland-BSL.


Tel: 01631 565 183


Address: Lorn House, Albany Street, Oban, PA34 4AR & Suite 1, Malin House, European Marine Science Park, Dunstaffnage, Oban, Argyll, Scotland PA37 1SZ

We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Instagram       

Argyll and Bute Citizen’s Advice Bureau

Useful Information


Benefits and Grants

Social Care and Health

Free and Discounted Travel Passes

Contact the Employability Team

Argyll and Bute’s Anti – Poverty Strategy