Has a devolved Parliament addressed poverty and inequalities?


Julia Unwin CBE, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, will today lead a conference to assess the work of the Scottish Parliament in reducing poverty and inequalities. The conference will be held in the Debating Chamber and is part of the programme of activities to mark the 10th anniversary of devolution.

The Scottish Parliament’s think-tank, Scotland’s Futures Forum, in partnership with the Scottish Poverty Information Unit at Glasgow Caledonian University, will co-host the event “Poverty and Inequalities: 10 Years On”.

The morning session will be chaired by the Presiding Officer, Alex Fergusson MSP, followed by breakout sessions with key experts on selected topics in the afternoon.

Speaking at the event will be:

  • Julia Unwin CBE, chief executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation
  • Bob Holman, community activist and columnist with The Herald
  • Morag Gillespie, the deputy director of the Scottish Poverty Information Unit

The “soapbox speakers” in the breakout sessions are:

Professor David Adamson, University of Glamorgan, Wales
Devolution and regeneration policy: the impact on poverty in four UK regions

John Loughton, former chairman of the Scottish Youth Parliament
Tackling inequality through promoting youth empowerment

Yvonne Coull, director of the Centre for the Older Person’s Agenda, Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
Older people in Scotland

Chris White, policy officer at the Scottish Association for Mental Health
Moving towards a mentally healthier Scotland?

Bobby Park, access consultant and treasurer of the Glasgow Access Panel
Disability (impairment), social engagement and employment

Sofi Taylor, Learning Disability Partnership
Caring for Scotland – The feminisation of care work

Anne-Marie Ward, Fullarton Community Health House, Irvine
The politics of alcohol and drugs addiction

Dr Ailsa Mackay, Glasgow Caledonian University
A basic citizen’s income for Scotland?

Scotland’s Futures Forum director Robert Rae said: “This conference is a chance to reflect on the impact the Scottish Parliament has had on tackling poverty and inequalities over the last decade.

"Today’s diverse range of speakers will not pull any punches in debating issues like child poverty, fuel poverty and financial poverty. Equally, our speakers aim to generate long-term policy plans on tackling poverty and inequalities for the future. We look forward to publishing these views in our report in June.”

Scotland’s Futures Forum was created by the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body in August 2005. The forum aims to identify key challenges facing the nation and stimulate debate between MSPs, academics, civic society, wealth creators and international organisations on ways of addressing them.

Scotland’s Futures Forum was recently cited by Westminster as a model to follow for its own proposed futures body. More information about Scotland’s Futures Forum.

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