This Monday (8 December), we launched our new report Food, Fuel, Finance at an event in Glasgow. The report gives an overview of how the ‘Poverty Premium’ affects people’s lives, and recommends action which could be taken to tackle this injustice, by the governments in Westminster and Edinburgh.
The report (click here to download it) draws on a year of grassroots research we conducted in Glasgow, with funding and support from the Iona Community, Faith in Community Scotland, the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, and Christian Aid Scotland. We listened to many people affected by the ‘Poverty Premium’ – unfairly high prices for everyday essentials including food, fuel, finance, furniture, and even funerals.
Food, Fuel, Finance tells the stories of how communities across Scotland – and elsewhere in the UK – are tackling the problem themselves through creative initiatives such as food hubs, community gardens and shops, and district heating schemes.
But the report also highlights the need for regulation and legislation, and calls on the Scottish and UK governments to develop plans for tackling the Poverty Premium in partnership with communities.
Martin Johnstone, Chief Executive of Faith in Community Scotland and Secretary of Scotland’s Poverty Truth Commission, said at the launch: “This report highlights what many of our poorest citizens already know. If you are poor then food, fuel, furniture and even funerals costs you more than if you have spare money in the bank. That is ludicrous but it is reality. It’s a scandal – a scandal that we must overturn, once and for all. Having read this report no politician, no business and no citizen should rest content until things are different.”
Peter MacDonald, leader of the Iona Community, said: “It is clear from this report, consistent with several others, that we are not ‘all in this together’. The poorest among us are paying the price of austerity. This is morally and economically just plain wrong.”
We’re now making plans to pilot some of the creative new ideas from the report in communities across the UK.
Meanwhile, Church Action on Poverty’s supporters have already sent over 600 messages to the ministers at Westminster and Holyrood who have the power to establish a strategy for tackling the Poverty Premium. If you’d like to add your voice to the campaign, you can use our e-action here.
The Scottish Government have given an initial reaction to the report. Their spokeswoman said: “It is unacceptable that anyone should be living in poverty in a country as wealthy as Scotland… We will consider this report and its recommendations while continuing to help families access support and help to buy everyday items that many of us take for granted.”
The very same day that we were launching Food, Fuel, Finance in Glasgow, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Food Poverty were launching their own report in London. Feeding Britain refers to the Poverty Premium as one of the driving factors in the demand for food aid. Click here to read our reaction to it.