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A five-year strategy aimed at tackling poverty and inequalities will be presented to elected members at next week’s Executive meeting.

“Building a Fairer Falkirk’ is the Council’s new anti-poverty strategy and sets out how the Council can expand on previous work with renewed efforts to address poverty over the next five years.

With a focus on maximising household incomes and reducing living costs, such as utility and energy costs, it aligns with the Local Housing Strategy 2023 – 2028 priority on tackling fuel poverty, energy efficiency and climate change.

It will provide clear direction for the Council and partners to address poverty,  ensuring people are well informed on how they can maximise income and reduce living costs and have access to sustainable employment opportunities.

Over the last five years there has been significant support offered to those most in need resulting in the following achievements:

  • Increased uptake of Council Tax Reduction – Falkirk had the highest increase in claims in Scotland at 5.03% compared  to a national increase of 1.03% in 2022/23
  • Client gains from benefits of more than £7.2m, through the Community Advice Service in 2023/24
  • Year on year growth providing free period products with 6276 online orders in 2023/24 (an increase of 154% since the introduction in 2021/22)
  • and improved staff awareness of poverty and how to help due to Poverty Awareness sessions attended by 276 members of staff last year.

Extensive community engagement underpinned the development of the new strategy with input from local communities and stakeholders playing a key role in shaping the new plan.

Kenny Gillespie, Head of Housing and Communities said:

“Addressing poverty is a key priority of the Council. Our new five-year strategy will build on the achievements of the past five years and help anyone experiencing poverty get the help  they need.”