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Efforts to tackle poverty and inequalities in Aberdeenshire taken into consideration due to the coronavirus pandemic


By Rachael Glennie

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Work to tackle poverty and inequalities across Aberdeenshire is taking account of the additional challenges posed by Coronavrius, councillors have been told.

The matter was covered as Aberdeenshire Council’s Communities Committee heard an update on the work of the council’s Poverty and Inequalities Strategic Group and the implementation of the Aberdeenshire Child Poverty Action Plan..

Poverty is defined as being where a person's household income is less than 60 per cent of the UK average income, and the group also takes account of factors such as health, housing, education, employment and access to services.

Currently, a family is considered to be in poverty if they are living on less than £18,900 a year for a single person with children aged between five and 14, or less than £24,100 for a couple with children in the same age range.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Child Poverty Action Plan, approved last April, was developed with input from a range of community planning partners, including NHS Grampian, which has a joint duty with the council to produce the document.

Reducing child poverty is also one of the priorities of the Aberdeenshire Community Planning Partnership.

The Communities Committee heard that the overall level of child poverty in Aberdeenshire stands at around 8215 children, although the figure varies between communities.

Tackling Poverty and Inequalities Co-ordinator Annette Johnston highlighted a range of actions to tackle poverty, ranging from an online expert forum established by people with experience of poverty, to a partnership between Citizens Advice Bureaus and NHS Grampian to develop financial health checks.

Councillor Anne Stirling
Councillor Anne Stirling

Speaking after the meeting, the Communities Committee chair councillor Anne Stirling said: “We really are in unprecedented times with the challenges being faced with Coronavirus but the work being undertaken to tackle poverty and inequalities is quite exceptional.

“Underpinning all of this is the partnership approach being taken by a wide range of groups and organisations, all of whom are finding ways to deliver services differently at this difficult

time.”

Committee vice-chair councillor Michael Roy said: “A lot of excellent work has been undertaken over the past year and we know it’s a particularly challenging time for a lot of people.

“Various support mechanisms are already in place, and it’s important that we all continue to work together to ensure everybody has access to the support they need.”


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