Two-year Poverty and Inequality Commission launched by Nicola Sturgeon
Scotland's Poverty and Inequality Commission with Nicola Sturgeon - credit First Minister's Office
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a new independent Poverty and Inequality Commission which will be chaired by the director of the RS Macdonald Charitable Trust, Douglas Hamilton.
The aim of the body will be to challenge and hold Scottish Government to account and to advise ministers on the development of a delivery plan for the current Child Poverty (Scotland) Bill.
It will also have an advocacy role, working with businesses and public bodies to reduce the impacts of poverty.
The Commission will run for two years, although will “work to a timeline” consistent with 2030 government targets.
Sturgeon said the Commission would carry on the work of her independent poverty advisor Naomi Eisenstadt, who will now also take a place as Hamilton’s deputy alongside race equality advisor Kaliani Lyle.
A former head of Save the Children in Scotland, Hamilton was Scotland’s commissioner to the UK-wide Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission under Alan Milburn from 2012-2016.
"The levels of poverty and inequality in Scotland are unacceptable and the job of the Commission will be to do everything we can to bring about change,” he said.
“The involvement of people who have direct experience of poverty will be central to the way the Commission works, and I also look forward to engaging experts from a range of sectors to provide the advice and scrutiny required.”
Oxfam Scotland, which helped develop the Commission, welcomed the announcement but warned it should be able to set its work streams independently of ministers, and should have powers to report economic inequality more regularly.
Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “Members of the Social Security Committee deserve significant credit for their scrutiny of the Child Poverty Bill and we believe this has led to the creation of a more ambitious Poverty and Inequality Commission.
“It is clear that further discussions are now needed to ensure strong scrutiny of the child poverty targets whilst retaining all that is good in the Scottish Government's planned Commission.”