Tackling poverty in Glasgow

There is a strong anti-poverty consensus among all local organisations in Glasgow (Scotland), according to a paper from a European Union-funded research programme. And a real commitment exists among political parties, the authors find, to work in partnership to meet the needs of those in poverty – though subject to the constraints of a highly centralised benefits system.

Key findings

  • Minimum income schemes in the UK allow 'little if any' scope for local actors and agencies involved in anti-poverty work. Discretion in implementing national schemes is 'minimal' and unaffected by local requirements and desires.
  • Passported benefits and financial assistance schemes are key factors in local anti-poverty and support efforts in Glasgow. The devolved Scottish Government is able to provide some universal support across social groups (such as free prescriptions), and to provide targeted funding towards its own deprivation and economic development outcomes.
  • Local priorities are influenced by the growing civil society voice, and by an increasing role for the participation of residents experiencing poverty in local decision-making and strategic planning.
  • Throughout the anti-poverty work in Glasgow there is a notable emphasis on local government and public sector actors supporting organisations to challenge decisions by UK central agencies.
  • The governance of local anti-poverty policy remains difficult and conflicted, despite some innovative structures for co-ordination of policy. The problems are compounded by political differences: although the Scottish Labour Party and SNP appear to share a common approach to anti-poverty and equality policies, the negative impact of UK national policy on benefits is a 'useful pro-independence political instrument'.

Source: Hayley Bennett and Daniel Clegg, Local Report: Glasgow, United Kingdom, Combating Poverty in Europe (European Commission project)

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