Edinburgh Poverty Commission - Theme One

Closed 8 Mar 2019

Opened 1 Feb 2019


Edinburgh Poverty Commission was launched in November 2018 and will be working throughout this year to define the steps the city needs to make to reduce, mitigate, and prevent poverty in Edinburgh.

The Commission is an independent group, chaired by Jim McCormick of Joseph Rowntree Foundation and made up of 12 people with experience of tackling poverty and its effects, including citizens who have direct experience of living in poverty in Edinburgh.

Throughout 2019 the Commission will focus on three themes relating to poverty in Edinburgh:

  • Pockets – addressing the pressures that keep incomes low and living costs high for people in Edinburgh
  • Prospects – exploring what we can do to improve the wellbeing and life chances of people in poverty
  • Places – defining steps the city can take to create well-designed, affordable, and sustainable places in Edinburgh.

If you would like to know more about our work, or get involved, please visit our website, or follow us on social media using #edinpovertycommission.

Why your views matter

In the first phase of our work, we want to focus on the theme of ‘Pockets’ – the pressures that keep incomes low and living costs high for people in Edinburgh.

We know that 80,000 people in Edinburgh live on incomes below the UK poverty threshold, and that more than 1 in 5 children in the city grow up in poverty.  We know that for too many people, poverty means not being able to heat their home, pay rent, manage debts, or buy essential food and clothing for children. It means waking up every day facing insecurity, uncertainty, and impossible decisions about money.  We also know that for many people in Edinburgh work alone is not enough to keep a family out of poverty, that childcare costs are a significant barrier to work for many people, and that benefit payments are an essential support for many families.

To help us, we want to hear from individuals and organisations across the city who have experience of living with or supporting people facing these issues. 

We want to hear your thoughts on the causes of poverty in Edinburgh.  We also want to think about ways the city can do more to help maximise incomes and reduce expenses for families who are struggling to get by.

So, we are asking four questions:

  • What are the factors that trap people in Edinburgh in low income, and how does it impact on people’s lives and wellbeing?
  • What essential things cost too much for people in Edinburgh on low incomes?
  • What prevents people being able to increase their household income, or reduce their living costs?

Can you provide evidence of what has been successful in helping people increase incomes or reduce their living costs?

You can submit your thoughts on these questions using the link below, or by email, using the subject header ‘Edinburgh Poverty Commission’, at: strategyandinsight@edinburgh.gov.uk. You can also print and return the submission form.

All submissions will be treated as confidential, with the evidence used to inform discussion and private sessions of the Edinburgh Poverty Commission.


  • All Edinburgh


  • Low income households


  • Poverty and Inequality
  • Housing benefit
  • Welfare reform
  • Economic development
  • Housing support
  • Jobs and training
  • Jobs and training for young people