Our most recent Zoom catch up with Glasgow’s voluntary sector focussed on the impact of COVID-19 on poverty in the City and asked participants to identify the policy priorities needed to help people and communities recover.

Consistently, digital access and digital poverty were raised as significant concerns.  The idea that we should treat broadband like other utilities was put forward. Other participants suggested that wider Scottish Government investment in broadband and digital access is needed e.g. for older people in sheltered housing and other contexts, and who are already isolated.  The lack of access to broadband and equipment is a challenge for families already struggling financially, and deeply affects how children interact with home schooling.  Many queried what needs to be done at national level to widen access – some suggested that digital access needs to be a human right given how vital it is to so many aspects of life and work.

The impact of the COVID outbreak on existing inequality was explored and participants identified groups at real risk of being left behind – families with children, lone parents, people with disabilities, refugees and asylum seekers, people from BME communities etc.

Discussions also focussed on the kinds of policies and priorities that could really help people and to ensure that Glasgow and Scotland does “build back better”.  The need for a secure income safety net for people was discussed – people were interested in exploring basic income.  They also highlighted that we need to stop being ‘crisis focussed’ and ensure people have choices, dignity and assistance which meets their needs.  Participants also encouraged local and national government to be brave – the depth and extent of the COVID crisis calls for new ideas. There was a strong sense that no one should be left behind.

The video of the formal input at our catch up event can be accessed here.  The formal presentations given by Shona Stephen and Peter Kelly are also available in the links below.

GCVS Poverty and Post-Covid Planning – Shona Stephen

Peter Kelly GCVS Poverty Session

The notes from the event discussion groups are here:

Poverty and Post COVID session discussion notes.

We have also drawn out the questions raised in the Chat facility during the session and will forward this Q and A document to Councillor Bell. These can be accessed in the link below.

Covid Catch up Poverty Session Q and A

To join in GCVS #BuildBackBetter conversations, please sign up to receive updates (tick the Build Back Better box) or contact Lynn Williams on lynn.williams@gcvs.org.uk.