Reported by Fife Today – the news we share raises awareness of equality issues being reported in the media.

A new community plan for north east Fife could help tackle rural poverty in the area.

The North East Fife Local Community Plan has been developed by Fife Council, which has worked with communities to help shape it.

One of the key issues the plan hopes to address is rural poverty and the increased cost of living in rural communities.

The current plan states that poverty remains a “pressing challenge” in north east Fife, and is affected by the increased cost of transport, low wages, fuel poverty and social isolation.

These are all issues the plan hopes to help address in the future.

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.

Fife Council hosted a rural poverty conference last year, following the report, putting a spotlight on the issue of poverty in north east Fife.

At the conference, results from workshops aimed at identifying what needed to be done to tackle the issue were revealed.

It came up with a list of short and long term actions that could help.

Among the next steps, Fife Council said it would look at more ways of addressing fuel poverty, expanding the membership of an anti-poverty group in the area, and look at taking action on the cost of bus travel for those on benefits.

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