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.
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.
Welfare Rights and Money Advice
In 2020-21, Argyll and Bute Council Welfare Rights together with our partners the Citizens Advice Bureau, Bute Advice Centre, ACHA Welfare Rights and ALIenergy, secured over £9.1 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 welfare rights, money management or debt, find options for assistance and contact details by visiting www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/advice-services.
Bute Advice Centre
Argyll and Bute Council Welfare Rights
ACHA Welfare Rights
Argyll and Bute Citizens Advice Bureau
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 2020/2021 the Council paid £172,400 to citizens eligible for School Clothing Grants which is up from £167,200 the previous year which represents a 3% 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. The total number of free school meals provided to Early Years, P1-7 and Secondary pupils in 2020/21 was 246,139 with a value of £559,809.
(The values for 20/21 do not include the payments that were made during school closures due to the covid pandemic.)
Free School Meals
School meals provide a hot, nutritious and tasty meal for children and young people across Argyll and Bute. All pupils in early years receiving 1140 hours of childcare and all pupils in P1-P4 are able to have a free meal every day, and this is being further extended to all P5-P7 pupils next year. 6,000 pupils enjoy a school meal every day in Argyll and Bute.
For more on the qualifying criteria and ways to claim the support check www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/education-and-learning/free-school-meals
Social Security Scotland
Social Security Scotland was set up by the Scottish Government to deliver a number of benefits. These benefits will be introduced in stages by the Scottish Government.
Once all of these benefits have been introduced, Social Security Scotland will be delivering benefits for families on low incomes, people who need help paying for a funeral, disabled people, carers, young people entering the workplace and to help people heat their homes.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and local authorities will also continue to deliver some benefits in Scotland.
Social Security Scotland currently deliver the following benefits:
- Best Start Grant Pregnancy and Baby Payment
- Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment
- Best Start Grant School Age Payment
- Best Start Foods
- Carer’s Allowance Supplement
- Child Winter Heating Allowance
- Funeral Support Payment
- Job Start Payment
- Scottish Child Payment
- Young Carer Grant
How do I apply?
Visit Benefits and Grants at mygov.scot to apply online.
You can also call freephone on 0800 182 2222 (8am to 6pm Monday to Friday) to complete an application over the phone or to request a paper application form.
In Scotland, as is the case all over the world, domestic abuse very often goes hand in hand with financial abuse. Financial abuse is a form of coercive control and is an offence under the Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018. It prevents women having the resources to leave violent relationships and being able to support themselves and their children.
One answer to the old question: ‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’ becomes evident when we look at the statistics: for the vast majority of women, economic abuse happens alongside other forms of domestic abuse. This may include coercive control of finances (97% of domestic abuse victims), sabotage - such as the abuser showing up at the woman’s workplace or making her late to undermine her job - (89%), and financial exploitation (87%). There are many reasons why women don’t leave violent relationships, and fear for their safety and their children’s is one of the biggest. But financial insecurity also plays a key role in women’s decision-making. Disabled women will face additional barriers to leaving services, transport and available adapted homes, but also because their abusive partner is often their carer.
Domestic Abuse is an Economic Issue - for its Victims and for Society; CPAG; Dr Sara Reis; 06/12/2019
In Argyll and Bute the Housing Consortium prioritises women fleeing from domestic abuse and there are support services such as Women’s Aid and a range of advice services that can help with benefits and financial advice. The Argyll and Bute Violence against Women and Girls Partnership is working to support women experiencing domestic abuse and there is a range of guidance and advice on the Council’s Domestic Abuse webpage https://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/domestic-abuse
Free Period Products
The online ordering service for free period products provided by Hey Girls has now been extended to those in communities who cannot afford/access period products, not just school pupils.
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 email@example.com.
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:
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.
Please tell us your views on the work of the Argyll and Bute Child Poverty Action Group, the local Child Poverty Action Plan or this website. We welcome your views and participation and will listen to them when we are planning work related to tackling child poverty.
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