Treat Scots in poverty with more respect and involve them in their support, says Nicola Sturgeon’s poverty adviser Naomi Eisenstadt
People living in poverty in Scotland must be more involved in shaping the support they receive, Nicola Sturgeon’s independent poverty adviser Naomi Eisenstadt has said.
In her first report to the First Minister since being appointed last year, Eisenstadt said public service delivery should be more respectful and person centred, and advised public servants should be trained to avoid stigma.
“The key message for me is that everyone has a role to play, local government, the voluntary sector, the Scottish Government and people in poverty themselves, who clearly have the best understanding of the challenges of living on a low income," she said.
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Poverty campaigners welcomed the ‘Shifting the Curve’ report.
Professor Annette Hastings, of University of Glasgow said the report would likely make an "important contribution" to the debate.
"These recommendations recognise that people with low incomes need to be treated with more respect than is sometimes the case," she said.
Allan Young from the Poverty Truth Commission said: “We are heartened to see that the issues raised in Naomi’s meetings with those with experience of poverty, have formed the backbone of this report. Her report shows that people in poverty are part of the solution, not the problem.”
Her suggestions also include a focus on in-work poverty, addressing housing affordability and boosting the life chances of young people from poorer backgrounds by various targeted measures.
The Scottish Government must ensure early learning and childcare is of a high quality, she said, a topic she discussed with Holyrood in December.
Nicola Sturgeon said the Government will respond formally to the report in March, but today announced £1m for six trials to test early learning and childcare delivery models.
“When I appointed Naomi to the role I was clear that she would work independently and be frank and challenging in her scrutiny of not only the work the Scottish Government was doing to alleviate poverty and inequality, but also what more can be done.”
Eisenstadt also called for the Scottish Government to be bold on local taxation reform. Read her full recommendations here