Plan to tackle rural poverty in N.E. Fife

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The issue of poverty in north east Fife was highlighted in a report published last year by Fife Council. It noted that of the current population of the area (73,405), 6.7 per cent were on a low income, 10.6 per cent of children live in poverty, and 27.5 per cent of people live with fuel poverty. On the issue of social isolation, it found that poor public transport, childcare issues, and rural isolation were some of the key causes. However, it also noted that social isolation was apparent in towns where there was a perceived gap between rich and poor, such as St Andrews.

Following publication of the report, Fife Council hosted a rural poverty conference focussing on the issue of poverty in North East Fife which led to the development of the N.E. Fife Local Community Plan.

Commenting on the plan Cllr Linda Holt, councillor for East Neuk and Landward, said “Councillors and managers at Fife House tend to think that virtually everyone in north east Fife is well-off, with ample resources which should be redistributed to areas with greater need,” said “Just because north east Fife does not score highly in the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation or free school meal uptake does not mean there is no poverty or hardship here. The rural poverty report proves we have significant deprivation and explains why it can get overlooked. “On top of that, it’s harder and more expensive to access essential services for people in rural areas with patchy mobile and internet connectivity, little or no public transport and a poor road network. This is why North East Fife needs extra and different services to elsewhere in Fife, not fewer services. “I congratulate north east Fife’s community manager Janice Laird and her Community Learning & Development team for undertaking this vital work and I hope it will be taken on board by policy-makers at Fife House as a matter of urgency.”

For more about the NE Fife Area Community Plan and the NE Fife Local Strategic Assessment, go to:

https://our.fife.scot/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2018/12/LSA-2018-NEFife-v2.pdf

For the NE Fife Rural Poverty Conference report, go to: https://www.fifehealthandsocialcare.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2018/12/014-18-Rural-Poverty-Conference-Report-June-2018.pdf

St Andrews Q.V.

St Andrews QV (Qui Vive) is an independent not-for-profit, non-political platform for news and debates about issues that are important to the Town. It exists to hold decision makers and public services to account while its editorial policy is to accommodate all shades of opinion from all parts of the community, prioritising evidence-based arguments. St Andrews QV is a member of the Independent Community News Network and is committed to the Community Journalism Charter

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