The first meeting of East Devon District Council's all-party Poverty Working Panel met on 12th October, which was established to contribute towards the formation of the Council's first East Devon Poverty Strategy.
The first meeting of East Devon District Council's all-party Poverty Working Panel met on 12th October, which was established to contribute towards the formation of the Council's first East Devon Poverty Strategy. This meeting was reported to Cabinet on 28th October by its Chair, Cllr Megan Armstrong, Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Homes & Communities and Ward Member for Exmouth Halsdon, who explained:
I was really pleased that this cross-party group contributed positively, with plenty of ideas for the Poverty Strategy. Members expressed their commitment to make sure this Council does everything in its power to relieve poverty, in whatever form it takes, throughout the district."
The Poverty Working Panel was initiated at a meeting of the Cabinet on 5th February 2020
at which it was agreed that tackling poverty in East Devon is one of the Council's priorities.
The agreed Terms of Reference confirmed that the Poverty Working Panel will include in its scope poverty relating to income & employment; debt & financial vulnerability; food & nutrition; affordable warmth & water; affordable housing & homelessness; and health equality.
The Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably contributed to a worsening of issues related to poverty, causing real hardship for many residents, including loss of income due to increasing levels of unemployment, food poverty, budgeting and high levels of indebtedness.
Cllr Armstrong added:
The Panel is keen to move forward with the Poverty Strategy as swiftly as possible, especially in the current Covid-19 climate. To this end, the second meeting will be held as soon as possible on the 11th November, to explore further the formation of the Strategy, which needs to be both evidence based (using the Council's recent East Devon Poverty Report) and wherever possible to address the root causes of poverty."