AN event to highlight the range of support on offer to hard up households in Fife has been organised by Fife Council.
Bringing together partners across the public and third sectors, the event helped showcase the work already in hand to tackle poverty as well as discussing the challenges to come, including the introduction of Universal Credit later this year.
Co-Leaders of Fife Council Cllrs David Ross and David Alexander welcomed a range of speakers to the event in the Town House, Kirkcaldy including Professor John McKendrick from Glasgow Caledonian University, an expert in poverty research.
Co-Leader Cllr David Alexander explained why events like this are so important: “We are living in a time where there are unacceptable levels of poverty in our society. It’s vital that we work together and share information with our partners to make sure we do the best we can for people who are facing real challenges on a daily basis.”
Last week the council and its partners launched a public consultation on a new Plan for Fife which puts fairness at the heart of the public sector’s agenda for the next 10 years www.fifedirect.org.uk/letstalk
Added Cllr David Ross: “This is an issue that impacts on everyone – from local shops and businesses who have to close because people have little disposable income – to those who can’t find employment and find themselves with debt they can’t handle. Poverty is a blight on our lives and it’s our job to aim for excellence in the services we provide to make a real difference to those who need it most.
“Since the Fairer Fife Commission published its Fairness Matters report a lot of good work is underway but we have to continue to build on that and work closely with partners and communities to do more – and do it better.”
Discussion at the event centred on the work already underway to support hard up households and the knock on effects expected following the introduction of Universal Credit. A guide to help those affected was launched at the event and will be used throughout Fife to signpost claimants to appropriate local services.
Co-locating services along with poverty awareness training for staff is already making a difference to support available as well as guides on avoiding sanctions and for those affected by the benefit cap.
Concluded Cllr Alexander: “Partnership working with agencies including the DWP, CARF and Fife Voluntary Action is key to making sure the support we offer is seamless and meaningful and helps create a fairer Fife.